Where's his Coca-Cola? The story behind a polar bear who crashed in a Nunavik cabin
'It wasn't the first time the bear went to the cabin. I think he knew where to go,' says Pauloosie Kasudluak
When CBC North shared this picture of a polar bear peeking out of a cabin window in Northern Quebec, the social media community loved it.
It struck a chord with some people who used the opportunity to write some hilarious — and some more serious — captions.
Some people interpreted his wide-eyed expression:
While others channeled their inner Goldilocks:
There were some references to politics, pop-culture, and hilarious quotes-gone-viral:
But on a more serious note:
So how did he end up in that wooden cabin in Quebec? We decided to find out the real story behind the polar bear that inspired creativity from our audience.
What's the story?
The mayor of Inukjuak, Que., Pauloosie Kasudluak, was on a hunting trip when he spotted the polar bear just outside his community.
"We were heading home and as we were five minutes away, I saw a polar bear running away," recalled Kasudluak.
He began chasing it on his snowmobile while filming.
"That was the first time I saw one close to the community. It was kind of rare," he said. The last time Kasudluak said he heard of a polar bear around the community was nearly thirty years ago,
A few minutes into the chase, the polar bear took refuge in an unfinished cabin.
He said he had a guest in his cabin.- Pauloosie Kasudkluak
"I think it wasn't the first time the bear went to the cabin. I think he knew where to go," said Kasudluak. He said when community members later peeked into the cabin, they found a spot where the bear had been sleeping.
When Kasudluak told the story to the owner of the cabin, who lives in Inukjuak, the owner cracked a joke.
Joanassie Ningiuk said he started building the cabin last summer, but was unable to finish it.
"They told me the polar bear broke the door," said Ningiuk, who will continue building it this summer.
When asked if he was OK with his furry tenant, he answered: "Yeah, of course."
'Bad ending' for the bear
Kasudluak said he went home, and then visited the cabin again with his whole family to see if the bear was still there.
The "very fat" polar bear was still poking his head out of the cabin, he said.
Unfortunately, it was "a bad ending" for the polar bear who was just a fifteen minute walk away from the community, said Kasudluak, who shot the bear.
"At first I didn't want to kill the bear, I was just taking a video of it," he said. "After a while, when it was in the cabin, I thought that this bear may be dangerous for the people who don't know where he is."
Typically, polar bears and humans don't share common living areas, but recently, there have been more news of polar bears near Northern communities. Polar bears are known to be powerful, aggressive carnivores and are considered extremely dangerous to humans. They can attack, especially if they're hungry.
Kasudluak says many people in and out of the community travel around that area, on foot and on skis. He was concerned they would be in for a surprise to find a polar bear living there.
"I thought this may be a risk for them," he said.
The kill was not all bad news.
"We distributed the food to elders and people who likes polar bears so it was a bad ending for the polar bear, but good for the people who love to eat polar bear meat."