Residents of Churchill, Manitoba, had a pretty wild encounter last week when they discovered spotted a Manitoba polar bear running around on a baseball field. The young bear, who was exploring the city's baseball diamond in the middle of the day, took around 10 to 15 minutes of chasing before she was able to be captured, and will now be relocated to a slightly less unorthodox location.
Bob Windsor, of the Manitoba Polar Bear Alert line, told CTV News that he got a call on October 9, reporting a polar bear sighting at the downtown baseball diamond. While polar bear sightings are not completely unheard of in Manitoba, seeing the wild animal in the daytime and on a baseball field is definitely on the unusual side.
Windsor and another officer attended the scene on Wednesday, noting that it was not an ideal location to capture a 200-pound polar bear. “It was an awkward place to chase a bear because there are a lot of fences around the diamond, but a number of areas around its perimeter where people can walk through,” Windsor explained to CTV News.
Sharing a shocking video of the polar bear on Facebook, Churchill local Danielle Daley wrote, “Only in churchill mb! Outside my work this morning, good job to conservation for keeping our town safe! This little guy has been tranquillized and sent to Polar Bear Jail.”
As Danielle Daley mentioned, conservation officers were able to tranquillize the polar bear, who carried on running for a short distance before the tranquillizer kicked in.
Windsor explained to CTV News that the polar bear had attracted a significant crowd to the area, which only served to make the situation more dangerous. “You don’t want to chase the bear towards people,” he said.
“We go to great lengths to not shoot a bear,” Windsor explained. Adding, “The top priority of our program is the safety of the people and the second priority is the wellbeing of the bear itself.”
By the long-weekend, Daley’s Facebook post had been shared more than 350 times, with many Canadians also responding to the original video that she posted.
One Facebook user wrote, “Poor little guy. Hopefully he gets back onto the ice cap.”
Another added, “ Poor girl/guy looks a little lost and confused. I know it’s summer, but it’s kind of sad seeing her/him walking around and there is no snow.”
Fortunately for the little bear, winter will be coming soon. The polar bear is currently waiting in a holding facility, and will eventually be relocated to an environment that makes more sense for everyone.
She is expected to be taken by helicopter 40 kilometres north of Churchill, to a more suitable, polar-bear-friendly environment.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.