Polar bear season for Newfoundland residents still going strong, recent sightings confirm

Two recent sightings of polar bears along the north shore of Newfoundland are a reminder that sea ice is still a prominent feature of the Davis Strait polar bear subpopulation landscape at this time of year.

LaScie_Newfoundland_April 27 2015_ColleenGray label

A polar bear was sighted in the community of La Scie, northern Newfoundland Monday, 27 April (pictured above, swimming in the harbour), while another landed in the town of Fogo, on Fogo Island, last week (see maps below).

LaScie and Fogo Island Newfoundland locations

Locations of the April 2015 polar bear sightings. Click to enlarge.

CBC news reported this morning what might be the first polar bear sighting recorded for the community of La Scie, Newfoundland on Monday, 27 April 2015 (“Possible first polar bear sighting for La Scie”):

“Colleen Gray saw an unusual sight on Monday [April 27] when a polar bear strolled into her hometown of La Scie on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

She said some people saw the animal walking from the street and then into the harbour. Gray’s husband then used a boat to try and chase the bear out to sea.”

Colleen Gray posted several photos of the bear swimming on her Facebook page, reproduced in the CBC report, one included here (above).

La Scie Newfoundland, from the town website.

La Scie Newfoundland, from the town website.

Last week, the polar bear news was further east on Fogo Island
VOCM news had a brief report 24 April 2015 (“Polar Bear Spotted Wandering Around Fogo”), with a photo (although it is not clear if this was a photo of the bear itself or one from a previous sighting, no attribution given):

Photo from VOCM news report.

Photo from VOCM news report.

“Residents of Fogo Island are being made aware of an unexpected visitor in the area.

A polar bear was spotted in Fogo Centre last night [April 23] at around 7:00. Although sightings of polar bears are not uncommon at this time of year, RCMP remind residents to stay vigilant.”

CBC news picked it up later that day, with an eyewitness account (“Big shaggy dog’ spotted on Fogo Island turns out to be polar bear”):

“Clayton Waterman says he first spotted a young polar bear (like this one pictured) on the road in Fogo Island. Later the same bear was seen outside his home near Deep Bay. (CBC)

Some people on living on Fogo Island, off Newfoundland’s northeast coast, may be looking over their shoulders today after a polar bear was spotted lumbering around the community.

Clayton Waterman, 58, and his wife Doreen were on their way from Deep Bay to buy seal meat in the neighbouring community Tilting and decided to make the trip into Fogo to stop at the bank.

Waterman made a turn on the road by the hospital, near the local school, when they saw an animal walking on the road ahead of them.

“As we were going up the hill I noticed an animal on the road and I said, ‘Doreen, look at the big shaggy dog,’ and we were looking at it and as it got closer I said, ‘Doreen, my God, that’s a polar bear,'” said Waterman.

The bear was walking ahead of the Waterman’s vehicle headed in the same direction, Waterman said, so he continued to slowly drive behind it at a distance.

“It was just lumbering along on the pavement.”

‘I told Doreen to sleep on the couch just in case [the bear] came in he could see her first … just joking with her, right? But she didn’t like the joke.’- Clayton Waterman

According to Waterman, the bear was likely young and didn’t look to weigh any more than 250 pounds, but otherwise seemed to be healthy.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Fogo, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. From the town website.

Fogo, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. From the town website. Click to enlarge.

There was still plenty of sea ice north of the Newfoundland coast at the time of the sightings, as sea ice maps from the Canadian Ice Service below show (click to enlarge):

Newfoundland sea ice conditions at 25 and 27 April 2015

Related posts about Newfoundland and Labrador spring polar bear sightings and sea ice conditions:

Polar bear visiting Hibernia oil platform off Newfoundland was not far from sea ice March 23, 2015

Spring ice alarm deflated – 2015 ice now as high as 2014 & Davis Strait highest since 1971 April 16, 2015

Of Labrador polar bears and sea ice way above normal off Newfoundland [polar bears in Black Tickle, Labrador] March 4, 2014

Labrador polar bears face a longer ice-free season than Hudson Bay bears, but do well November 26, 2014

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