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Polar bear found feeding at Moose Factory dump shot dead

The sight of a polar bear scrounging in the Moose Factory dump last Friday was very unusual, a polar bear expert says.
The manager of the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat says the sight of a polar bear rummaging in the Moose Factory dump last Friday was very unusual. She said warm weather has prevented the formation of ice, so the bears can't get out to hunt seals. (Leslie Pine/Facebook)

The sight of a polar bear scrounging in the Moose Factory dump last Friday was very unusual, a polar bear expert says.

Karen Cummings, the manager of the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, says hunger was probably driving the bear more south to get food. Warm weather has prevented the formation of ice, so the bears can't get out to hunt seals, she said.

Cummings said the animal looked very thin in the pictures she saw.

Cummings last heard of a polar bear in Moose Factory about 15 years ago.

"The question is, will this continue to happen? Is this a sign of the times, or is this just a chance encounter? It is really hard to say. I would expect that it may happen again."

She told CBC News she heard that police shot the bear and  prepared the animal in a traditional way, treating it with respect.

"These decisions are made by their community, and made by their police officers and their council leaders," Cummings said.

"These decisions are difficult, but [as] always, it's the safety of humans first."

Cummings noted polar bears are very unpredictable, and it wouldn't have been safe to tranquillize the animal to try to re-locate it.

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