A group of snowmobilers got an up-close look at a polar bear in the wild last Sunday.
Edwin Clark, Neko Dysan, and a couple of other friends were snowmobiling through Batteau, Labrador when they spotted the bear walking toward sea ice.
“It’s pretty exciting, the first time seeing a polar bear, and I was able to get that close,” Dysan told CBC News.
Clark told a reporter that the bear looked tired at first glance, as if it had just been running.
“He was pretty lazy, just eating snow,” Clark said.
They estimated the polar bear to be twice the size of an average black bear, but that didn’t stop them from getting up close.
Dysan approached it on two separate occasions, and Clark managed to get both Dysan and the bear in a photo together, though Dysan stayed on his snowmobile. Clark also captured some striking up-close shots of the bear on its own. The group spent about half an hour with the animal before moving on.
According to Polar Bears International, as Arctic sea ice recedes, human-polar bear encounters are increasing, and with that, so are attacks. Although they’re rare, attacks can happen when the bear is undernourished, frightened, or provoked, and they often have tragic endings for both humans and the bear.
Lucky for everyone, the men were were more interested in the bear than it was in them.
“It was just relaxing there,” Dysan said. “It didn’t show much fear of us.”
They were fortunate to come across a placid bear and not, say, a mother and her cubs. But Clark said that if he ever got a chance to get up close to a polar bear again, he would take it.