At this time of year most black bears are supposed to be hibernating, but a man in Labrador West found a badly injured bear cub alone in the woods on one of the coldest days yet this year.
Chuck Porter, a conservation officer in Wabush, said the man spotted the bear bloody and covered in ice near Albert Lake in -30 C temperatures.
"He ascertained that it was safe to even go near the animal. He picked it up and just placed it into a pet kennel," Porter said.
The man contacted conservation officers, who rushed to get to the animal.
Porter said what they saw when they arrived was heartbreaking and graphic.
"It had a serious scar on its face," he said.
"It was quite disfigured, actually, and part of its face had been missing entirely due to some sort of an object, possibly a snare of some sort. It must have got caught in something."
They tried to feed the cub, who Porter said was in obvious pain, but it was unresponsive to any food.
"At that point the animal was in a state of … you know, it was suffering so much, so at that point in time we made the decision that we had to put it down," he said.
According to Porter, getting a report of an injured bear at this time of year was a surprise.
"To see them out that time of the year, the first week in December, is really unusual," he said. "It's the first time I've seen it, actually."
Porter said they get a lot of reports about injured animals, and that he encourages people to report anything similar in nature.
"[People] want to help an animal, and that's heartwarming to see that aspect of it. So anytime someone sees an animal that's injured like that they can certainly give us a call," Porter said.
"Between themselves and us, we'll do whatever we can to rehabilitate that animal and put it back into its natural state again."
Porter said conservation officers are usually able to save injured animals, but added that in this case putting the animal down was the most humane thing they could have done.