Polar bears spotted on Bonavista, Baie Verte peninsulas
Government issues second polar bear advisory, warning residents to give animals wide berth
The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture has issued its second polar bear advisory of the winter, telling residents living on coastal communities with sea ice to be aware of possible polar bear activity in their area.
In a press release Sunday, the department says it has received reports of polar bears in and around Pacquet on the Baie Verte Peninsula and Melrose on the Bonavista Peninsula.
Polar bears have also been spotted on the south coast of Labrador at Port Hope Simpson, St. Lewis and Black Tickle, and on the Northern Peninsula near St. Anthony.
The province says conservation officers are monitoring the areas and encourage residents to take appropriate steps to avoid an encounter with the animals. It says residents should never approach a polar bear, and that people should make note of a bear's behaviour.
"Residents should keep pets inside or under close supervision, travel in groups when outdoors if possible, and never approach a fresh kill or carcass," read the release. "Be sure to properly store and dispose of garbage to avoid attracting bears into communities."
What to do if you see a polar bear
The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture says each encounter with a polar bear can be different, and people should take note of the bear's behaviour if they find themselves near one.
If it seems like the bear hasn't spotted you, you should:
- Quietly back away and leave the area.
- Try to stay downwind of the animal.
- Keep an eye on the bear.
- Never get between a bear and her cubs.
If it seems like the bear has spotted you:
- Remain calm.
- Give the bear space and a route to get away.
- Back away but do not run.
- If you must speak, do so calmly and firmly.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the bear.
Residents in the Bonavista area are told to report polar bear sightings to the Clarenville forestry office. Those living in the Baie Verte area are told to contact the Springdale office, while those in St. Anthony are advised to report to the Roddickton forestry office. Those in southern Labrador are told to report to the Port Hope Simpson office.