Residents in Resolute, Nunavut have had several run-ins with a young polar bear over the last few weeks. Amanda Anaviapi had perhaps the closest call when she ran into the animal on her way back from the local co-op.
Anaviapi had weathered near-blizzard conditions to grab supplies one afternoon last week. On her way back to her home, she heard loud footsteps and dogs barking. When she turned around she spotted a polar bear just a few feet away.
“The bear scared me so much that I screamed. And I scared the bear by my scream,” she told the CBC.
While she initially stood her ground, Anaviapi rushed back to her home once the bear turned around. She got home in one piece, but was startled by the experience.
“When I made it inside my house, and closed the door behind me, I automatically collapsed because I got so scared,” she said. “I’m happy to be alive.”
This was not the first run-in to occur in recent weeks. Local wildlife officer Tabitha Mullin had received several calls about the animal over the last few months.
“I had first seen it the first week of October, and it’s sort of been a nuisance ever since then,” she told the CBC.
Another local woman, Sophie Idlout, was at home with her father when she spotted the bear. She heard her dogs making a commotion outside. When she looked out her window she saw the polar bear in her yard.
“I just freaked out. I said, ‘Dad! Dad! There’s a nanuq!'”
She and her father went outside to investigate and managed to scare the bear enough that it hid behind a neighbour’s car. Eventually, the local wildlife officer and several neighbours chased the bear out of the community.
Luckily, nobody was injured during these encounters.
According to Parks Canada, if you do happen to come face-to-face with a polar bear it is important to seem non-threatening, so avoid eye contact and do not shout or hiss. If the animal is not exhibiting aggressive behaviour, back slowly away. Do not, under any circumstance, run.