Nfld. & Labrador

Polar bear warning in effect for parts of Northern Peninsula

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources says conservation officers are patrolling the Green Island Cove area after confirming reports of a polar bear sighting.

Confirmed reports of a polar bear near Green Island Cove

A polar bear, like this one pictured in a file photo, has been seen around Green Island Cove on the Northern Peninsula. (Submitted by Mark Nui)

People on the Northern Peninsula are being asked to watch out for a polar bear in the area on New Year's Eve. 

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources issued the advisory Tuesday morning, after confirming reports of a polar bear near the community of Green Island Cove, roughly 30 kilometres north of Saint Barbe. 

"Residents should keep pets inside or under close supervision, travel in groups when possible, and never approach a fresh kill or carcass," the department said in its press release. 

Conservation officers are patrolling the area and asking people to avoid encounters with the polar bear, by doing things like properly storing, collecting and disposing of garbage to reduce the risk of attracting bears into communities and backyards. 

"Under no circumstances should residents approach a polar bear," the department said.

If the bear doesn't see you, it's best to quietly back away, stay downwind of the animal, keep an eye on it, and never get between a bear and her cubs. 

If the bear does see or smell you, it's important to stay calm, give the bear space and a way to escape. Back away, but don't run. Avoid direct eye contact with the bear and if you have to speak, you should do so calmly and firmly. 

And if anyone does see a polar bear in that area of the Northern Peninsula, the department asks you to call the district office in Roddickton-Bide Arm at 454-8435 or the standby number 457-7243. 

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