As a Northern Country, one unique risk that Canada faces is the wildlife, particularly the arctic animals we have here. One species, in particular, can pose a major threat to people and that is the polar bear. In fact, this is the problem facing 2 Canadians towns with bear warnings after polar bears were spotted there.
The towns under the warning are St. Lewis and Charlottetown. Both are smaller communities on the Atlantic coast in Labrador. These particular towns are towards the southern coast of Labrador. However, the warning issued for these towns also warns people along the Northern coast to be cautious of the polar bears as well.
The warning comes from Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. They report that residents have spotted polar bears in both towns. While they say they have conservation officers monitoring the situations, they have some warnings for residents as well.
They suggest that people in those areas should keep pets inside, travel in groups as much as possible, and never approach a fresh kill or carcass. Beyond that, they also recommend storing garbage so as to not attract the hungry bears to their backyards. The department also warns that under no circumstances should anyone approach a polar bear.
Of course, those are tips to help avoid a bear encounter, but the department also has some potentially life-saving advice if you do unfortunately encounter a polar bear.
If the bear has not noticed you, they advise that you remain downwind of the bear and back away quietly, while keeping eyes on the bear. They also warn to never get between a bear and her cubs.
If the bear has seen or even smelled you, then you are supposed to remain calm, back away but don't run, and don't make eye contact with the bear. You are also warned to give the bear an escape route.
Polar bears don't naturally hunt humans, but if they are hungry and desperate enough, a human is not off the table in terms of what they will eat as carnivores. They also are easily able to take us down. At 1000 pounds, they are not only massive but also shockingly agile and will outrun a human no problem.
Just last July, a 31-year-old man in Nunavut was actually killed when a polar bear attacked him and his children. He died protecting them and people in the area killed the polar bear.
The reason that polar bears often come into towns looking for food is that the ice on the water that they usually hunt and live on is starting to melt and break away, posing a threat to their lifestyles.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.