Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are being warned to keep an eye out for polar bears making their northern trek early this year.
While the animals usually make this journey in April or May, an early spring means they’ve been spotted in communities across southern Labrador and Newfoundland’s northern peninsula.
RCMP Cpl. Shane Clarke, of St. Anthony, NFL, told the Toronto Star that there has already been an unusual amount of bears spotted in his area.
“For the most part we just ask that the public give them space and leave them alone and they will resume their way north back home.”
Despite there being very few run-ins between people and bears, Clarke admits that the bears have caused at least a little bit of trouble.
“They have caused some damage to snowmobile seats. There was a hot tub that was tore up.”
Polar bears, which are a vulnerable species, travel south during the colder months following the seals and whales that serve as their prey.
Clarke advises residents avoid contact with bears, especially one traveling with cubs.
“The last thing we want to see is a bear having to be put down because of the public harassing it or chasing it on a snowmobile.”