Bear on shore in January that threatened residents of Foxe Basin community was shot

According to a report by CBC News earlier this week (18 February 2019), there was a defence kill of a potentially dangerous polar bear and her cub in Foxe Basin, Nunavut on January 4th that we are just hearing about now. Yet another bear on shore in winter, when there is plenty of sea ice, looking for food in an Arctic community and threatening the lives of its residents while a polar bear specialist blames such incidents on lack of ice.

Black Tickle bears again 15 March 2017 headline VOCM

Polar bear on shore in Labrador, early March 2017, VOCM report

The controversy about how to deal with an abundance of potentially dangerous bears in Nunavut continues after two fatal maulings in the area this summer. Since a well-fed female with a yearling in tow was responsible for killing a young man last summer in Foxe Basin, the notion that females with cubs don’t make predatory attacks clearly has residents on edge. This time, the location is Igloolik (north of Hudson Bay, see map below), population about 1,680:

An investigation was launched after the department’s wildlife officers in the community found out Peter Avva killed two bears on Jan. 4.

“It was a very dangerous situation,” recalled Avva in Inuktitut.

In January, Avva said he had been instructed by a wildlife officer to scare off the bears after they were found entering the community. Avva decided to kill the bears instead.

“We should not be trying to scare polar bears away. It is not Inuit tradition,” he Avva. “We do not want Inuit to be mauled to death by polar bears.”

“[The department] has determined the harvest of the bears was an act of defence of life and property,” said a spokesperson for the territorial environment department in an emailed response.

It added that under the law, any person can kill wildlife in defence of life and/or property.

When a kill occurs, the department said it investigates whether it was justified.

There were no further details about the circumstances or the condition of the bears (whether fat or thin).

Read the whole thing here.

Location of the community and ice conditions at the time of the incident below:

Igloolik location_Google maps

Sea ice Canada 2019 Jan 3

Sea ice in Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin, 3 January 2019. CIS.

Foxe Basin had abundant ice for polar bear hunting this year by the end of October:

Sea ice Canada 2018 Oct 31

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