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Public Advisory: Makkovik Residents Asked to Remain Vigilant After Polar Bear Removed from Town

Press Release

July 06, 2018

Residents of Makkovik are cautioned about polar bears after one was recently removed from the area.

Polar bears are moving back north at this time of the year and depending on ice conditions can come close to shore and be attracted to communities. Conservation Officers with the Forestry and Wildlife Division of the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, with assistance from local Nunatsiavut Government officials and the RCMP, successfully immobilized and relocated a polar bear to an island north of Makkovik on Thursday.

Residents who live in areas where polar bears have been known to frequent are encouraged to take appropriate steps to avoid encounters with bears. This includes being aware of your surroundings, keeping pets inside or under close supervision, travelling in groups when possible, never approaching a fresh kill or carcass, and adhering to the proper storage, collection and disposal of garbage to avoid attracting bears into communities.

Under no circumstances should residents approach polar bears. While every encounter is different, if an individual encounters a polar bear, they should first take note of the bear’s behavior. If the bear does not know you are there:

  • Quietly back away and leave the area;
  • Try and stay downwind of the animal;
  • Keep an eye on the bear; and
  • Never get between a bear and her cubs.

If the bear has seen or smelled you:

  • Remain calm;
  • Give the bear space and a route to get away;
  • Back away, get out of the situation, never run;
  • If you must speak, do so calmly and firmly; and
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the bear.

Anyone sighting a polar bear is asked to contact the local District Forestry and Wildlife Office in North West River at 709-497-8479 or 709-897-7116 after regular office hours.

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Media contact
Connie Boland
Fisheries and Land Resources
709-637-2923, 640-6409
[email protected]

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