Several polar bears shot without tags near Arviat; bears not harvested
Shootings come after death of local man, who was mauled by a polar bear in July
Several polar bears have been shot without tags in Arviat, Nunavut, according to the local hunters and trappers organization.
The bears were found dead without being harvested or skinned. The community has already used up its quota of polar bear tags from last fall, so no hunting is currently permitted.
A spokesperson for Nunavut's Department of Environment said they are investigating four killings, though the hunters and trappers organization said there were five. The department said, as of yet, no charges or fines have been laid.
"Our conservation officers have confirmed that four polar bears have been illegally killed and left on the land in the vicinity of Arviat. These illegal killings are currently under investigation," said Jonathan Pynn, a policy analyst with the department.
The killings follow the death of a man who was mauled by a polar bear near the community in July. Aaron Gibbons, 31, was unarmed when he encountered the bear on Sentry Island, a popular fishing and hunting spot about 10 kilometres outside of the hamlet.
Thomas Alikaswa, the chair of the Arviat Hunters and Trappers Association, said in Inuktitut that people in the hamlet are hurting after Gibbons's death.
"They're obviously disturbed and angered by it, so any bear that got close to town was shot by someone. We all know they are hurt," said Alikaswa.
The dead bears were found in various locations near Arviat, including in Hudson Bay.