Kuujjuarapik had its first polar bear sighting(s) since we’ve returned from summer break.
I am trying to get a clear picture of this occurrence. Here are the stories:
- There was a polar bear near the Inuksuk just out of town, and it was also wandering about in the backyards of Inuit homes.
- There were two bears. One was shot, and one is still at large.
- According to Andy’s students, the Inuit would take took care of it, since they know about hunting polar bears.
- The police shot one bear.
- The Cree police confirmed that a bear was shot, but it was not them.
- According to the police on the Inuit side, there was no actual bear, just prints in the sand. A photo had been taken of the print
The most consistent story is that where two bears and one was shot.
According to the Inuit teachers, on the day of the sightings, all the community’s dogs faced west and started barking and howling. They said they are glad to have dogs for this.
Also there are many foxes about town (Andy actually saw a brownish-red one on the road) and some of them are rumoured to be rabid.
I saw a fox as well, but a dead one, dragged down the middle of the street by a local hunter.
So much for my long walks with my dog.
There have been three black bear sightings in the hills just out of town, a large male and two smaller ones. The polar bear has not been located, but assumed to have crossed the strait from the Manitounuk Islands. For now I am doing my walking at the gym: Treadmill, bicycle and elliptical trainer. Not as much fun or scenic, but a lot safer.
Guess it’s possible
Andy and I headed to the Inuksuk to look over the stormy bay and enjoy a coffee (from the Northern Store). A group of kids were playing on the beach and swimming, with two leaders in charge, possibly from a summer program. We returned from a walk up the beach. The group had left by then. A truck pulled up and two worried parents asked where the kids were. I said that we hadn’t seen them for 20 minutes, and that they must have moved on.
“There was a polar bear track found on the beach, near the airport. It was fresh. They have it announced on the radio,” the woman said.
“Have you ever seen a polar bear in the summer?” I asked.
“No, only in the winter,” she said.
We headed into town and met one of Andy’s students. We asked if he had heard anything about a bear on the radio, since we don’t understand Cree.
“No, I haven’t heard anything, but I will get my gun!” he said.
We headed up the road paralleling the Bay. Where there more public service vehicles around that usual or was I imagining it? A search and rescue boat was chugging along the shoreline.
And just as I was getting comfortable walking the hills and with my marathon beach walks. I never would have imagined a bear here in July.