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Whitehorse is the Wilderness City, and for good reason. We are surrounded for thousands of kilometres with pristine wilderness, home to wildlife large and small. While many Canadians in the south can only hope to catch a glimpse of a bear while on vacation somewhere else, we're trying to reduce human-animal interactions where we live, work and play. With this incredible gift of living in close proximity to wilderness comes the collective responsibility to keep it wild. An important part of keeping our wilderness wild is properly managing our waste, as well as other "attractants". 

what you can do to protect Wildlife

The Waste Management Bylaw, which applies to residents as well as businesses, contains provisions to help protect wildlife:

  • No person shall set out waste in any manner or condition that harbours or attracts wildlife;
  • No person shall allow waste to spill over or accumulate on any street or adjoining public or private property and shall ensure, at all such times, that all waste is kept within the waste receptacle with the lid fully closed;
  • On collection day, the owner of eligible premises shall set out curb-side waste by 7 am, but no earlier than 6 pm on the evening prior;
  • The owner of eligible premises shall, by 11 pm on collection day, return the appropriate cart to, and store it on, the owner's property in accordance with setback requirements as prescribed in the City of Whitehorse Zoning Bylaw;
  • No person shall include meat, fish, pet faeces or other non-compostable waste in backyard composting.


Click here for an information handout.



Bears are active from April to November every year. Most encounters with bears in communities result from improper storage of household waste. If a bear is given the choice between foraging in the woods and getting an easy meal from a waste bin, it will almost always choose the waste. Once a bear has found an easy meal from a human source, it can become habituated or even dangerous. When bears become habituated they end up being captured or killed. By practicing responsible waste storage practices all of us can reduce the access bears have to our waste, which works towards keeping bears wild.

Bear Bins


Whitehorse bear working group

The Whitehorse Bear Working Group was founded in 2014 and consists of the City of Whitehorse, Yukon Environment, the Centre for Human-Wildlife Conflict Solutions (WildWise Yukon) and an open invitation to local governments, Renewable Resource Council and other stakeholders interested in reducing bear conflicts. 

In 2015 the group contracted Wind River Bear Institute to assess bear hazards in Whitehorse. The bear hazard assessment can be seen here: 2015 Whitehorse Bear Hazard Assessment

bear HA


The Whitehorse Bear Working Group would like to remind residents to eliminate the things in our urban environment that attract bears. Every year conservation officers see issues related to poor garbage and compost management that result in bears dying needlessly. To avoid animal encounters:

  • Request a lock for your business waste dumpster, and keep waste bins locked at all times;
  • Do not leave waste unsecured around the house or garage. If possible, keep green, black and recycling bins in a locked shed or garage;
  • Put your cart out at the curb only on the morning of collection, not the night before;
  • Consider storing meat and fish scraps in your freezer until the day of collection;
  • Clean barbeques after every use;
  • Put away bird feeders for the summer;
  • Install electric fencing around poultry and livestock;
  • Remove any other wildlife attractants from the property; and
  • Consider purchasing bear and wildlife resistant cart locks from Wildwise Yukon






For more information on bears, and reducing negative human-wildlife encounters, visit:


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