Of Labrador polar bears and sea ice way above normal off Newfoundland

A report yesterday of polar bears making a nuisance of themselves in Black Tickle, southern Labrador is the inspiration for this post. Those bears are part of the Davis Strait subpopulation (discussed previously here and here). Black Tickle is marked on the map below.


Arctic sea ice is tracking just at the edge of two standard deviations for this time of year but while extent is low in the Barents Sea, it is way up around the east coast of Canada.

Says the news report from Black Tickle:

“Polar Bears are a regular sight in Black Tickle during the winter and this year it has been no different.

Canadian Ranger Sergeant Jeffrey Keefe estimates that over ten polar bears have been spotted within the community in the past week or so. The bears travel south on the ice following the seals and with Black Tickle located on an island further out in the Atlantic, the town is in the direct path of the ice flow. The bears start to head ashore once the ice breaks up.

Keefe says the ice is pretty much right at their doorstep, adding one year they had up to 12 on the island in one day.

Bernard Dyson is one resident who has come closer to a polar bear than he’d like. He calls their presence in the community “a real nuisance”.

“I had a dog there and it started walking over to the dog and the poor dog was frightened to death,” he recounts. “It came up about 20 feet from the house and there was no way I could drive it away.”

Presently, the Canadian Rangers are handling the situation, working to keep the bears out. Keefe says they are using bear bangers – 12-gauge shots that explode – and rubber bullets in order to scare the bears away.
Keefe says the problem isn’t any better this year than it has been in the past.

“Right now, all the broke up ice is all gone back out of the harbour so it’ll probably be a few days before we see one again,” he said on Wednesday. “But once the ice starts to break up, they’ll come in along here again.” [my bold]

Read the rest of the story here.

More on problem bears in this area from this post:

Newfoundland and Labrador: Polar bear warning issued for St. Anthony (March 4, 2013)

Polar bears threaten Newfoundland communities (April 2, 2012)

Napping polar bear captivates Newfoundland town (May 7, 2012)

The sea ice extent map below from NSIDC shows the above-average ice off Labrador and Newfoundland at March 3, 2014. Below that is the ice extent/concentration map from Canadian Ice Services for March 4, 2014, which coincidentally also shows the above-average ice on the Great Lakes (where there are, of course, no bears but lots of ice).

Sea ice extent 2014 March 3 NSIDC

Sea ice extent Canada_2014 March 4_CIS

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