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New program to bear-proof cabins

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 25, 2012

Funding to buy electric fencing, bear-proof storage containers and other measures to protect people and property from bears is the focus of a newly-announced program meant to reduce bear-human conflict.

The new wildlife damage prevention and compensation programs are under the umbrella of the Wildlife Deterrence program, Environment Minister James Arreak said at the legislature on June 6.

The prevention program provides funding to a variety of prevention materials such as electric fencing, construction supplies to bear-proof cabins, electronic bear-detection devices and bear-proof storage containers.

The other program compensates people whose property was damaged despite taking measures to prevent it.

The Department of Environment is working on an education campaign to let people know about the programs, how they work and when Nunavummiut can apply, said Bob Hansen, wildlife deterrent specialist for Nunavut, speaking from Iglulik. He added he expects the program to become effective sometime this fall.

"We look forward to working with communities ... on preventing property damage and increasing safety, hopefully reducing the need to make lethal kills on bears," he said.

The prevention program has an annual budget of $100,000 available to individuals, communities and organizations, explained Hansen, while the compensation program has $40,000 available annually. As time goes on, the GN will evaluate the program's use and gauge the funding, he added.

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