While many Canadian travelers are familiar with flights being delayed because of winter weather, few have likely been held up on the tarmac because of polar bears.
However, wildlife on the runways is not so uncommon at northern airports. The Will Rogers-Wiley Post Memorial Airport in the Alaskan town of Utqiaġvik has dealt with seals on the runway — and now polar bears.
Scott Babcock, an airport maintenance worker, posted a video of the animals on Facebook last Thursday. Filmed from the front seat of his vehicle, the videos show the polar bears running off as Babcock drives slowly towards them.
The airport is in close proximity to the sea, which could explain why the animals end up on its runway. However, their straying onto the airfield is not as amusing as it might appear.
“Polar bears on the airfield are a huge safety concern for their safety as well as those who work at the airport.”
While some have criticized him for driving so close to the animals, Babcock says the animals ran the minute they spotted him.
“We have to follow the law like everyone else when it comes to marine mammals and these bears were never in harms way from me,” he told The Weather Network.
“Lots of things could go wrong very quick if someone stepped outside a building and encountered one of these guys especially if they were backed up against a fence. Animal control was called and they dealt with them,” Babcock wrote on Facebook.
The two young bears appeared to be looking for food, and like many other Canadian animals, did not let something as mundane as a fence keep them out.