Whale Cove, Nunavut, hunters take down prowling polar bear

A hunter in Whale Cove, Nunavut, took down an aggressive polar bear in the community early Friday morning.

Bear shot after police effort to scare it away with bear bangers fails

A hunter in Whale Cove, Nunavut, took down an aggressive polar bear in the community early Friday morning.

George Okalik lives near where the bear was spotted. 

He says a neighbour called him shortly before 3:30 a.m. and he and his son-in-law went out to look for it.  When they left the house, the bear was right in front of them.
Hunter Desmond Matoo poses with the pelt of a polar bear that was acting aggressively in the Nunavut hamlet of Whale Cove Friday. (Submitted)

"When we went to the ground, the bear just started walking really slow, it wasn't even scared of us," Okalik said.

"When we got on the road, it finally went between two houses, then there was no more houses between us and the polar bear, so that's when we shot it."

Okalik said the bear showed obvious signs of being aggressive. He said polar bears tend to run away when spooked, but this polar bear continued to make its way around the area. 

"It wasn't scared of us," he said. 

It had already caused a public disturbance in the hamlet the day before. Okalik said RCMP officers and hunters tried to scare the animal off using bear bangers to make a loud sound, but the bear returned.

Okalik said a few bears have been seen near the community this year, but this one was the first that had to be shot.

Roaming polar bears are a frequent problem in communities along western Hudson Bay in recent years. In the Nunavut community of Arviat, a patrol program has reduced the number of polar bear defence kills in the last five years.