Polar bear attack in Nunavut | Polarjournal
The community of Sanirajak has a population of 850 and was formerly known as Hall Beach. (Photo: Ansgar Walk, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

Outside the community of Sanirajak (Nunavut), formerly known as Hall Beach, a polar bear attacked three people on Tuesday, seriously injuring them, according to local authorities. The attack happened outside the community of 850 people close to some cabins.

The injured persons, a man and two women were taken to the local health center, but later flown out to hospitals because of the serious injuries, the man to Ottawa and the two women to Iqaluit.

RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) said the three were seriously injured but are expected to recover.

Officers were deployed to record the attack close to some cabins on Tuesday afternoon. RCMP said the polar bear was found dead at the scene of the attack and transported to the station for examination.

Although polar bear attacks are rare in Nunavut, there have been cases of fatal encounters with bears in recent years.

In 2018, 31-year-old Aaron Gibbons was killed by a polar bear outside Arviat (Nunavut) while protecting his children.

That same summer, 33-year-old Darryl Kaunak was killed outside Naujaat while hunting with two other people.

The polar bear mother with her offspring has poor chances. The sea ice is gone and the two are ‘trapped’ on land. The search for food becomes a fight for survival. (Photo: Heiner Kubny)

Polar bear attacks will increase worldwide

Climate change and the resulting Arctic ice melt will increasingly prevent polar bears from reaching their main food source, seals resting on the ice. Bound to land, the king of the Arctic searches the coastline for washed-up food. Occasionally a dead whale washes up on the beach, or sometimes the bears have to rely on bird eggs.

It is obvious that this is by far not enough food. If then a polar bear suffering from famine encounters humans, it often comes to a catastrophe. The following attack is in many cases fatal, either for the polar bear, or for the human.

The authorities face a huge problem in considering how to protect humans from the polar bear. Or the other way around, how to protect the polar bear from humans. If you don’t get this issue under control, there is only one loser – the polar bear.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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