Dad mauled to death by polar bear while protecting kids

06 July, 2018, 03:27 | Author: Carlos George
  • Man killed by polar bear in Nunavut

A father from the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut was mauled to death while protecting his children from a polar bear on July 3, Canadian police said.

Aaron Gibbons was on Sentry Island, located on the west coast of Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada, when he and his children encountered a polar bear Tuesday night, CBC reported. "They were surprised by a bear that had started to stalk or charge towards one of his children".

"He told his children to run away to the boat while he was putting himself between the bear and his children to protect them", Kidlapik said. One of the girls called for help on the CB radio.

"We actually heard the call for help", Kidlapik told the Canadian Press. The bear was later shot and killed by another adult.

RCMP said Gibbons didn't have his rifle immediately to hand when the bear attacked.

Bears have recently been frequenting the local community more than in previous years and have grown less fearful of people, according to elders of the Arviat hamlet, CBC News reports.

"It's really just incredibly sad, we're a small community and when something like this happens, it affects the whole community", John Main, MLA for Arviat North-Whale Cove said.

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Previous year alone, there were 380 polar bear sightings in the hamlet, BBC News reported.

Arviat is considered to be in the range of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population, estimated in 2016 to number about 840. "It's partially because the climate is changing and partly because of attractants in the communities like the dumps".

A grieving Kidlapik lashed out at outfitters in nearby Churchill, Man., who market access to polar bears to tourists from around the world.

"Living in the edge of the community myself, I've seen first-hand how when the bears migrate to here in the fall time, how tense it can get", said Anoee.

He speculated that the tours could be a factor in explaining the bears' shifting behaviour, noting that 10 or 15 years ago, they would flee at the sound of an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile.

In a tweet, he wrote that a "walk with bears tour" becoming popular in the area had left his relative "having to defend against approaching bears that lost their fear of humans". They hang around. They won't run away.

According to Dan Pimental, Director of Policy, Department of Environment, the last fatal bear attack was in 1999.

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