Persistent polar bears intrude on Resolute

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There’s something polar bears like about Resolute, because they keep coming back.

Resolute resident Mathew Nungaq took this photo of a polar bear standing on its hind legs outside his home in the early hours of Oct. 5. Several bears repeatedly came into the community during the first week of October.
photo courtesy of Mathew Nungaq

Two mothers, each with a pair of cubs, and an adult male have been spotted around the community, mostly at night during the first week of October.

“Last night they were in town again. The night before that they were walking up the main street and we had to chase them out of town,” said RCMP Const. Stephen Hynes. “We’ll go with the (police) truck, and the conservation officer here, she’s quite adept at dealing with them too. She has her bear-bangers and the RCMP, we have bear-bangers. (The bears) are skittish. Once we pull up on them with the trucks, they turn and start to move. If we make a little noise, they start to run.”

Hynes said everyone in town seems to be aware of the persistent predators and residents are alert.

At Qarmartalik School, principal Rob Filipkowski said some of the students have been talking about seeing bear tracks outside their homes. The youth are reminded to walk to and from school in groups, younger students with older ones, he said.

There was a meat cache on the beach, less than two kilometres from the community, that some of the bears consumed, which could have initially attracted them, Hynes suggested. The bears have also shown up at the dump, several kilometres outside the community, but Hynes said dump workers reliably burn new waste that the carnivorous scavengers would otherwise devour.

“There’s no one leaving the garbage out around town here because they know of the problem with the bears,” he said.

Shooting the bears is generally a last resort, the RCMP officer noted.

“They try not to kill the bears, but if it’s a public threat, then we’d have to take that into consideration,” he said. “But so far we’ve been able to scare them out.”