Friday, February 24, 2006

Inuit: 2 - Polar Bears: nil

For the second time in a week or so, a Polar Bear has charged a person. Unlike the my post on the previous attack, this one occured outside of town and the bear in question was shot before he was able to inflict some damage.

Here's the low-down: Paulusie Tayara of Salluit was about 10 km out of town and off his ski-doo when he saw a polar bear running towards him. He picked up his rifle and tried to shoot, but his clip was not in his rifle. Paulusie began running back to the skidoo for all he was worth, but realized he had loose bullets in his pocket. So he loaded one round and shot, missing the bear but slowing it down. He reloaded and shot, this time bringing down the bear.

Like the polar bear which attached Lydia Angiyou last week, the stomach was found to be completely empty when they eviscerated it. This means this bear, too, was starving.

I am very glad that Paulusie was unhurt, and that he has a nice bear skin in the bargain. In the old days a tagged skin untanned was worth $100 per linear foot measuring from tip of nose to tip of tail and I imagine it is worth much more now.

But I also feel very sorry for the bear. The weather has been so warm this winter that they are not able to get the seals which make up most of their diet. I am certain that this is an effect of global warming.

I can tell you from personal experience that a well-fed polar bear is a happy one and unlikely to be overly aggressive. But if the bears are starving now, when they are usually storing up energy for a summer of famine (they usually cannot get much in the way of food at that time), what is going to happen to them when the ice goes out and they will really have difficulty in getting seals?

Not only are polar bears more than a kindred spirit to me, they are a majestic icon of survival in the harshest of climates. Isn't it ironic that when the Arctic's climate becomes more temperate, polar bears probably will not be able to survive?


Blogger Anna said...

Heartbreaking. Ofg course I don't live there, so it's easy for me.

10:39 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Anna - here's an update: they got another bear (this one actually hunted) about 240 kms east of here and it was fat, which is a good sign.

Do you know a lot of people up here eat polar bear meat? So I guess it's better than hunting just for the fur.

12:27 PM  

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