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Bear breaks into Fort Smith truck for a cup of coffee 6 Tuesday May 26 2015 ENVIRONMENT WILDLIFE By MEAGAN WOHLBERG A couple from Fort Smith is certain the bear that broke into their truck and tore apart the interior was just looking for a cup of joe. Genevieve Ct and John Blyth were out for a hike at the Salt Plains near Fort Smith on Friday night to check out several pairs of whooping cranes nesting in the area when they came across a small but investigative black bear on their way back to the parking lot. It was a very curious bear Ct said. Rather than retreating the bear decided to move in for a closer look. We started yelling at it and it came to face us it didnt go away Blyth recounted. We thought maybe we made the wrong choice not to bring bear spray this time but we started throwing huge rocks and eventually it moved into the bush. After they returned to the lookout Ct started noticing chunks of foam littering the ground and the passenger door of their pickup was open. She wondered if Blyth had accidentally left it open until she looked in- side and saw the passenger seat had been torn apart and there were claw marks all over the side of the truck and on the inside door. Paw prints show the bear did indeed open the door handle itself and a single devoured item revealed the probable motive a cup of coffee from Kellys gas bar in town chewed and left empty on the seat. I think that bear wanted a coffee Ct said with a laugh. If you lived at the Salt Plains youd get thirsty too added Blyth jokingly. The pair shared their experience on Face- book just to let people know about the pres- ence of the bear and to ensure they lock their doors and close their windows when visiting the Salt Plains but Ct hopes the encoun- ter doesnt deter visitors from checking out the iconic Wood Buffalo National Park site. Of course theres bears its nature. Its beautiful and its where wild things live she said. We live in the bush so of course we are going to see some bears. We just hope that doesnt scare people from going because you can see two pairs of whooping cranes. That said Ct noted the likelihood of such a curious bear getting caught eventually. It should have been scared of us and it was not she said. Wildlife put on a show While down at the Salt Plains the duo said they watched four whooping cranes flying and prancing around the flat landscape when a wolf emerged from the trees and approached one of the birds. After the crane squared up to the wolf and showed off its massive wingspan however the predator thought better of its plan and skulked off. It was an epic 45 minutes with such awe- some wildlife Ct said. PhotosGenevieveCt An empty coffee cup and a ripped seat were what John Blyth and Genevieve Ct returned to after a bear broke into their truck while they were out hiking. Paw prints can be seen all over the truck from the side mirror and door handle to these ones on the trucks tail gate where the bear stood up to check out what was in the box. Salt River First Nation filing injunction over whooping crane tours By DALI CARMICHAEL The Salt River First Nation SRFN has announced it will file an injunction to stop Wood Buffalo National Parks WBNP new whooping crane tour program citing a lack of consultation by the federal government agency with Aboriginal groups on the initiative. SRFN Chief Frieda Martselos said the decision to put a halt to the Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane Experience was made dur- ing a council meeting held May 21. Parks Canada has failed to consult Salt River First Nation in respect to Parks Cana- das guided whooping crane tours and tours of the whooping crane nesting areas in the Wood Buffalo National Park she said in an interview with The Journal. Salt River First Nation is bringing the federal court action to stop the tours and to protect their Treaty 8 and their treaty land entitlement rights in our traditional territory and to protect the 12-10 trapping area in accordance with sec- tion 35 of the Constitution of 1982. As of publication time Martselos and SRFN had not heard a response from the park re- garding the request for an injunction. Were disappointed that they did not feel that they had an obligation to consult Salt River and we were surprised and very disappointed that they didnt do their due diligence Martselos said. The whoop- ing cranes are an endangered species. The members of Salt River respect that and we want to ensure that when they are going to do anything this drastic to an endangered species they have a duty to consult Salt River First Nation. The tours were set to start May 25 with several excursions taking place over the course of the summer. Different experien- tial packages range from 1400 to 3900 and include everything from flights over the birds nesting grounds to hikes into a blind set up only a few hundred metres from the birds habitat. Its sad when you think about it because there was definitely no consultation on putting their proposal together said Ken Hudson president of the Fort Smith Mtis Council whose members also hold rights in the park. I have since found out that the ceilings for the flying that they have pro- posed - 1000 feet for fixed wing aircraft and 1200 for helicopters - were unaccept- able to Canadian Wildlife Service CWS and other groups that have concerns with the whooping cranes. The Journal reached out to CWS for con- firmation but did not receive a response be- fore press time. Hudson said he fears that the low-flying craft might scare off the whooping cranes causing them to abandon their eggs. This would set back decades of conservation work to restore the population from less than 20 birds to more than 300. The matter was first discussed at a coopera- tive management meeting held in Hay River this past April that included representatives from SRFN the Mtis and other Aboriginal groups in the area. Thats where Parks was going to present their proposal said Hudson. We didnt allow them to present the proposal because every- body was upset that they even had a proposal developed and bookings all ready for an event that we had no knowledge of and no partici- pation in putting together. Members of Smiths Landing First Nation who also hold rights in WBNP did not return calls from The Journal. WBNP representatives declined to com- ment on the matter at this time. ENVIRONMENT WILDLIFE