The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture has issued its first polar bear warning of the winter, telling residents of Labrador’s south coast and Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula to stay away if they see one of the beautiful but dangerous animals.
The province says there have been reports of polar bears around the communities of St. Anthony, Port Hope Simpson, St. Lewis and Black Tickle.
One of those bears was spotted in St. Carols, a community with around 20 houses just north of St. Anthony.
Sybil Rose was warm in bed on Tuesday morning when her husband ran into the room saying that there was a polar bear outside their home. She immediately got up from bed, and couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she looked outside.
A polar bear was just coming ashore from the water.
Rose ran to get her camera and started taking photos of the polar bear walking inland as it came close to her house. While still in her pyjamas, she opened the door and put one foot on the porch of her house to get the best angle.
“I wasn’t scared of him, and I said hey, then he turned around,” Rose told CBC News. The animal ran away from her house after hearing her. “He never took his time. He was frightened I think.”
Rose says that she has never been afraid of animals growing up, but did acknowledge that people should be fearful of such large predators. While it can be a beautiful sight to see a polar bear, the province is warning it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and should not be approached.
The size of the animal took Rose by surprise, and she marveled at how big its paws were.
She says it’s not uncommon to see polar bears floating on ice around the community during spring, but she was surprised to see one this early.
The first thing Rose did after taking the picture, was to call her son and show him the picture she took.
“The best picture ever I took of an animal, I think,” she said.
The polar bear went towards the general direction of St. Anthony after the encounter, according to Rose.
What to do if you see a polar bear
The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture says each encounter with a polar bear can be different, and people should take note of the bear’s behaviour if they find themselves near one.
If it seems like the bear hasn’t spotted you, you should:
- Quietly back away and leave the area
- Try to stay downwind of the animal
- Keep an eye on the bear
- Never get between a bear and her cubs
If it seems like the bear has spotted you:
- Remain calm
- Give the bear space and a route to get away
- Back away but do not run
- If you must speak, do so calmly and firmly
- Avoid direct eye contact with the bear
Residents on the Northern Peninsula are asked to report any sightings to the Roddickton forestry office, while residents in Labrador are asked to report them to the Port Hope Simpson office.
“Residents should keep pets inside or under close supervision, travel in groups when outdoors if possible, and never approach a fresh kill or carcass,” the warning reads. “Be sure to properly store and dispose of garbage to avoid attracting bears into communities where they present a risk to public safety.”
www.cbc.ca 2023-03-09 09:39:27