- Officials didn’t have the right tools to bear the 650-pound animal.
- A photograph of the white bear’s footprint next to a human’s for size.
Wildlife experts said it was required to fire dead instead of relocating a polar bear caught roaming on Quebec’s Gaspé peninsula over the weekend.
In an interview, government officials didn’t have the appropriate equipment or the tranquilizers required to bear the 650-pound animal, Sylvain Marois with Quebec’s Wildlife Department said.
“We are prepared for black bears, moose? But a polar bear, that’s double the size of a black bear,” Marois stated.
The bear was killed to assure public safety; he said it was spotted in a wooded place Saturday close to the town of Madeleine-Centre, Que., located approximately 580 kilometers northeast of Quebec City, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Wildlife officials state they don’t know where the bear came from. Still, Ian Stirling, one of the world’s leading polar bear specialists and adjunct teacher at the University of Alberta’s biological sciences branch, said the bear’s large size means it had been feeding near the South Labrador Sea, where food is food is abundant.
“There’s only one area where it could be that fat this early,” Stirling said. “Anywhere else in the Arctic, they are usually slightly on the flimsy side, but this one was obese.”
He said the bear most probably ended up in Gaspé by swimming to the peninsula or floating south on a piece of ice from Newfoundland. It’s very typical, Stirling explained, for polar bears, mainly males, to wander and explore.
“Though not many bears find their way out to the uneven edge of the pack ice, those that do find their way into that general location feed very well and put on a lot of weight quickly,” he said. “When the ice breaks up, and the harp seals go to sea again, most of the bears go back north along the coast of Labrador, on the nearshore ice and spend the summer (open water) season there,” Stirling said.
Source – cbc.ca