A mother polar bear loitered with her four cubs by the Arctic Bay shoreline earlier this month, before being scared off by wildlife officers.

A mother and a rare sighting of four cubs came into Arctic Bay earlier this month.
photos courtesy of Josia Akpaliapik‎

Josia Akpaliapik spotted the bears while driving his wife to work.

Though Akpaliapik has seen three cubs before, spotting four cubs is a first, he said.

Typically a bear will have a litter of two. Litters of three and four are possible, though uncommon.

According to elders, sometimes a polar bear will adopt another cub from another bear.

Wildlife officers tried to use boats to deter the bears, which were in close proximity to four or five dog teams near the airport.

“One of the cubs was kind of scary. Sometimes she would go to the dogs but never harm them.

The owner untied a few dogs,” he said.

By nightfall, the bears were gone, he said.

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...