Arviat, Naujaat bear attacks deemed ‘isolated incidents’

by Derek Neary- September 7, 2018

After examining the bodies of the polar bears that killed men in separate incidents in Arviat and near Naujaat recently, the Department of Environment has determined that both attacks were “isolated incidents.”

An Arviat bear that killed a man was found to be underweight but had no other health issues, according to the Department of Environment. Three of the bears involved in a fatal attack near Naujaat were found to be healthy after examinations of their carcasses.

Three bears shot during the fatal Aug. 23 attack, which killed a 33-year-old man 70 km southeast of Naujaat, were all found to be in good condition with nothing unusual about their health or weight. Those polar bears were an adult female, a yearling male and a sub-adult female, the latter between 2.5 and five years old. The deceased man’s hunting companion may have also shot a fourth bear but that animal’s carcass couldn’t be found, according to the Department of Environment.

“All of these (bear) kills were justified kills in defence of life and property,” the department stated on Sept. 7.

The necropsy on the adult male Arviat polar bear, which fatally attacked an unarmed 31-year-old man on July 3, showed the animal was in fair condition, but it was categorized as “skinny” on the body condition scale. There was nothing else unusual about the predator.

“(The Department of) Environment has no evidence to suggest that these were anything other than isolated incidents,” a statement from the department reads.

The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) will host an in-person hearing in Iqaluit this fall to consider a polar bear co-management plan which will set policy for harvest management, reporting and monitoring; information gathering and research; and habitat management. The partners in that plan include the NWMB, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., regional wildlife organizations, hunters and trappers organizations, the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada.

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