Wildlife Safety and Emergencies

The NWT is one of the largest areas of pristine wilderness in Canada. There are many opportunities to view wildlife, including bears, wolves, bison, coyotes, foxes, beavers, ravens and porcupines. These animals make their home in the NWT’s forests, rocks, tundra and waterways.

For an authentic northern experience, respect wildlife by keeping your distance.

No selfies, please - to get the perfect photo, maintain a safe distance, use your zoom and, if you're on the road, stay in your vehicle.

Never feed wildlife

While it is always interesting to see NWT wildlife in their natural habitat, they should never be given food.

Under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to intentionally feed wildlife or to leave food, food waste or any other attractants on the land that could attract wildlife and endanger people or animals.

Feeding wildlife causes animals to become used to human interaction, which puts people at risk of bodily harm and disease. Fed animals often end up dead, either from the food itself or because the animal has become a threat to public safety and must be put down.

What to do if you find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife

Each year, ENR receives reports of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. However, many young animals are not orphans in need of rescuing. Some species leave their offspring temporarily, especially during the day, to relocate them or to search for food. The parents are usually nearby, even if they are not visible to you. Removing an animal from their habitat can often do more harm than good.

If you encounter an animal you think might be sick, injured or orphaned, you may be tempted to act - but even the best intentions can put you both at risk.

Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Do not remove the animal from its habitat.
  2. Maintain a safe distance. Check on the animal periodically for 24-48 hours.
  3. If the mother has not returned or the animal has not moved on within 48 hours, contact your local or regional ENR office.

Report a wildlife emergency

Report a wildlife emergency using the 24-hour emergency wildlife number in your region.