Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 18, 2014 - 7:41 am

Arviat tries to scare off its unwanted polar bear visitors

Wildlife officers can't explain high number of polar bear sightings this summer

SARAH ROGERS
A polar bear looks for something to eat at Arviat's dump July 13. (PHOTO BY PAUL ANINGAT)
A polar bear looks for something to eat at Arviat's dump July 13. (PHOTO BY PAUL ANINGAT)

It was another loud evening in Arviat July 16, as bear bangers went off to scare away a nuisance polar bear that had ventured into the Kivalliq community.

Arviat has received a number of visits from polar bears this week, prompting the hamlet to issue a warning, as polar bears have been spotted scouting the local landfill for scraps, wandering into the community and even chasing a group of boys one evening, as residents reported.

Jonathan Pameolik’s job is to set off the polar bear bangers: the local wildlife officer has had four calls this week alone.

“One of them was swimming towards the community, another one was at the dump,” he said. “Once we get close enough, we can use the bear bangers to scare them off.”

The goal is to scare the polar bears far enough south so that they’ll decide to carry on their journey to the southwest coast of Hudson Bay, where they wait for freeze-up.

But it’s not always that easy. By the time Pameolik responded to two calls this week, polar bears had already left the area, likely to return.

That’s not much different than during the fall months, when Arviat sees a steady stream of polar bears passing by and through the community on their migration north.

What is different is to see so many polar bears passing through the community during the summer months, said Pameolik, who’s worked as a wildlife officer in Arviat for 15 years.

“In past years, we’ve seen bears occasionally in the summertime in Arviat along the shoreline, but it’s certainly unusual to be dealing with them this early,” he said. “But we can’t really say why that is.”

Pameolik said the polar bears he’s encountered this week appear average in size and look healthy.

Although the polar bears have not caused any injuries or major damage so far this summer, they’ve killed sled dogs and damaged property in the past.

This past spring, Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq called on the Government of Nunavut to increase the total allowable harvest for polar bears along the west coast of Hudson Bay, where he said bear populations have hit dangerously high levels.

The total allowable harvest of polar bears in the Western Hudson Bay sub-population, which covers the southern Kivalliq region, is 24 bears. Over the past three years, Arviat has been given eight tags.

And in recent years, some of those tags have gone to defence of life and property kills.

“Arviat has learned to live with an abundance of polar bears,” Savikataaq told the legislative assembly last March. “Every fall, they damage property, they kill dogs, and some folks are scared to go out at night, especially elders.”

A 2012 GN survey found the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population to be “viable” at more than 1,000 animals.

For now, the hamlet of Arviat has asked residents to be alert and ensure they know where their children are playing, to ensure their safety.

If residents spot any polar bears in or around the community, they can reach wildlife officers after hours at 857-6944.

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share Comment on this story...

(41) Comments:

#1. Posted by Inuk on July 18, 2014

I think it’s time to control the bear population by poaching… this might be the only way the governments will take action in protecting the community. We deserve the right to live free of fear from bears and take back the shores of Hudson Bay.

#2. Posted by #1 A Southern Cowboy from the past? on July 18, 2014

#1 That is a pretty sad commentary, to blow away anything that causes you fear. And you sign your post Inuk. Forget harmony, environmental science and education.  Take back the shores of HB - what? You sound like John Wayne, cowboy attitude with their mindset was was on the buffalo.

If you do what you say start poaching, killing any bear you see and promoting others to do the same.  I trust the Government and people of Nunavut will make sure you are charged, fined and jailed.
Good thing Churchill, Manitoba didn’t do what you are suggesting. But then if they did, you would be happy. You wouldn’t have any bears, they be extinct.

#3. Posted by Shame on you! on July 18, 2014

Shame on you #1.  I would prefer to have the bears around, take precautions and respect THEIR rights before the rights of someone with a kill all mentality.

Take back the shores of HB?  I believe they were here first, before you.

Shame.

#4. Posted by Trapper Don on July 18, 2014

Its sickens me to see the photograph of a majestic white polar bear filthy from digging in your garbage dump. that dump says something about the people who made it what it is, A TOXIC MESS!!!

#5. Posted by Messy Bear on July 18, 2014

Trapper Don,

The bears swim up the coast and get muddy on the beach, most of that is mud and seaweed dirt.

#6. Posted by Inuk too on July 18, 2014

#2 & #3, were your children charged by polar bears? Have you ever seen a giant bear in your porch? Bear bangers everyday, all day in the fall and now its like its already fall. Fear to walk home alone. Yuck! don’t say anything unless you are in same position as we are.

#7. Posted by Inuk George Bush on July 18, 2014

If we let the polar bears win then the terrorist will have won! I wouldn’t be surprised if Al Qaida behind this!

#8. Posted by JohnnyM on July 18, 2014

“In past years, we’ve seen bears occasionally in the summertime in Arviat along the shoreline, but it’s certainly unusual to be dealing with them this early,” he said. “But we can’t really say why that is.”


Ask an elder. Isn’t that what traditional knowledge is all about??

#9. Posted by Kivalliq Kid on July 18, 2014

Ok… So this is what I do not get…

We Inuit are seeing climate change first hand in our generation, things have changed dramatically.

We notice more southern animals in the arctic popping up.

From those above two that we have noticed, why don’t we apply that to Polar Bears? For example: with climate change it would change the normal habitat/range of Polar Bears.

#10. Posted by My kids are safe on July 18, 2014

#6 My children were not charged by a polar bear because they were in bed asleep at 11pm where they should be.

If you choose to ignore the warnings and allow children to be out at all hours of the night unsupervised, then you take that risk.

I too, live in Arviat, so I am in the same boat.  I just happen to believe the bears have a right to life.

#11. Posted by Not really on July 18, 2014

#2 and 3

C’mon. You’d be saying the same thing if there were dangerous animals roaming beside your house in unusually high numbers,much less the largest land predator on earth. Extinct? Did you even read the article? It says the numbers are too high and that’s coming from people who live in the area, not from someone who doesn’t live in the area.

Humans have helped balancing the nature, always have and always will. According to you two, it’s okay for the bears to kill kids but not okay to defend ourselves.

I think #1 meant that Inuit have to take back the control of the shores of HB, instead of people who don’t live there and don’t get to see what’s happening to understand it. Inuit have never been known to make any type of animals extinct, you hear about them defending the land and animals instead. People of Arviat are saying Polar Bears are coming into the community in ususually high numbers because that’s what is really happening.

#12. Posted by not really on July 18, 2014

#4

You can’t get more ignorant than that. Polar bears swims and gets to the land and gets dirty. They also roll on the mud to help keep those pesky blood suckers away but you didn’t know that since you haven’t watched it on tv or read about it.

#13. Posted by I live in Arviat on July 18, 2014

#11 your unusually high numbers are what?  two, three?  We deal with the bears in the fall, nobody has been killed.  We can deal with them in the summer, no difference.

Heed the warnings, mind your children, keep each other safe.  We do not need to be out there killing all the bears in sight!

I would much rather hear a few bear bangers in the night, and keep my kids inside than listen to the sounds of rampant kids running all over town breaking windows and breaking into trucks all night.

#14. Posted by Not really on July 18, 2014

#10

Polar bears also comes to the communites during, wait for it, DAYTIME. Hard to believe right? Sheesh.

#15. Posted by equipment needed on July 18, 2014

I think the larger issue here is that Arviat doesn’t have the required equipment to deal with the problem bears. If you look at the Churchill example, Manitoba Conservation has bear traps, a bear jail, helicopters with nets, staff that can traquilize bears for transport and so on. The government of Nunavut is providing none of this. Either provide the equipment to properly deal with the bears or face that fact that this issue will be ongoing.

Taima.

#16. Posted by clean up your own mess on July 18, 2014

#11 If the Inuit want to take back control of HB why not start by getting all your junk off the beach?  Old trucks, ATV’s, junk snowmobiles, PILES of trash and discarded crap all over the shores.

The beaches are a disgusting mess all around Arviat.

#17. Posted by oh really!!! on July 18, 2014

#7 what the hell are you talking about?

#18. Posted by Aasi, this becomes outta line on July 18, 2014

As usual there are commenters that think they know it, booksmart but….it may be the dump that is attracting the bears, who knows. but #3. you have to go back to the 1950’s archives in Ottawa to see if you’re saying is true. All of the original Nunavutmiut/some NWTmiut were moved into communities such as Arviat. it may have been your father/grandfather/greatgreat grandfather. i know what you’re saying is true.
it may be climate change that are driving the polar bears to communities. you may notice there were floods in some canadian cities. and here is the consequence in the picture shown. tehehe, you booksmart. (0-0)

#19. Posted by Proff is in the pudding on July 18, 2014

This seems very simple to me

Listen to your hamlet, obey the warnings.

the bears are around, stop crying about the loss of your child’s playtime and keep them safe.

good grief.

I would much rather keep my kids safe and inside than deal with the grief of a bear attack. 

What are you all thinking?

#20. Posted by not really on July 18, 2014

#13

So do we wait until someone is killed? Who said about killing all on sight? They simply want the quota to go up a bit. I’d rather take what the leaders from Arviat said than some random poster. Here are a few quotes from this article you’re commenting on. 

“What is different is to see so many polar bears passing through the community during the summer months, said Pameolik, who’s worked as a wildlife officer in Arviat for 15 years.”

“In past years, we’ve seen bears occasionally in the summertime in Arviat along the shoreline, but it’s certainly unusual to be dealing with them this early,” he said. “But we can’t really say why that is.”

“This past spring, Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq called on the Government of Nunavut to increase the total allowable harvest for polar bears along the west coast of Hudson Bay, where he said bear populations have hit dangerously high levels.”

“Arviat has learned to live with an abundance of polar bears,” Saviqataaq told the legislative assembly last March. “Every fall, they damage property, they kill dogs, and some folks are scared to go out at night, especially elders.”

#21. Posted by inuk too on July 18, 2014

JohnnyM apiqhugauyu ningaugigakni huu piryuaqhatualirivi? you’re an elder, might as well tell him reasons why bears are here. quyannamii thank you. HA!

#22. Posted by Bear Patrol on July 18, 2014

Hey, maybe some of those people that drive around town at all hours of the night on ATV, making it impossible to sleep with all the noise.  Driving in circles, back and forth not really going anywhere, just wasting gas could watch out for the bears and chase them away.

#23. Posted by Nevada Bob on July 18, 2014

I hope the bears stay around town year round.  Maybe than we will see a decrease in crime/vandalism in Arviat.
Previous posters are right on when they say kids are running the streets all night long, than they sleep all day.  And yes, Arviat looks awful with all the junk everywhere, just look at it from an airplane, garbage for a 5 mile radius around town.
By the way, if you don’t have rotting carcasses of god knows what sitting in your porch, the bears, and dogs for that matter, won’t come.

#24. Posted by jen on July 18, 2014

shoot the bears in town, have a feast and make some warm winter pants.  wouldn’t have master Predator mixing with my kids.  Id eat it no problem!

#25. Posted by jen on July 18, 2014

bears and man are not meant to coexist in a community.  If humans don’t act/protect themselves, you’ll loose family members.

what do we do when there are stray huskies running around town threatening our safety….

same thing, except we don’t eat dogs

#26. Posted by Not again on July 18, 2014

#25 “jen”.  The bears have not moved into Arviat for good, they are simply passing through.  There is no co-existing going on.

Calm down, keep your kids inside & safe and they will be gone in a few days, if not sooner.

#27. Posted by bears on July 18, 2014

My goodness you wouldn’t know if we haven’t seen a bear before. there has been 3 bears max. look after the kids and all will be fine. no need for some of the crap on this thread on both sides of the debate. must be allot of bored people out there that have nothing better to do than to put down Arviat and its people down.

#28. Posted by Coke Bear on July 18, 2014

Hmm I thought these polar bears were hug-gable?  Last TV Ad I saw Coke seemed to be endorsing Polar Bears as cute and cuddly.  Evidently, the Arviat young residents quickly determined this Bear didn’t have cuddling in mind when it came into town?

#29. Posted by Keep us safe Jonathan on July 18, 2014

Keep up the good work Jonathan and keep us safe

#30. Posted by Trapper Don on July 18, 2014

I hope no one is thinking about taking liberties with one of those bears, God know’s that is just wrong.

#31. Posted by Really!! on July 18, 2014

All you people who are complaining about Arviats problems that have nothing to do with the bear problem, why are you here? Why don’t you do anything about these problems, instead of hiding anonymously and saying how you feel. Surely not because you love the town and its people and culture. I ask again, what are you doing here? People like you disgust me. Go home.

#32. Posted by heather on July 19, 2014

The Polar Bears are on the endangered species list. Well in the US they are, but seeing as this is Canada, seeing a polar bear every day makes people think there are an abundance of them….. Poaching will just cause the beautiful creature a fast track to extinction. They predict by 2050 that all polar bears will be gone. Other options can be taken, versus killing an animal that was here, before we were. It isn’t the bears fault.

#33. Posted by B Aglukark on July 19, 2014

#4, #30 - Trapper Don, polar bear you see in this article was cooling off near the shores of Arviat in the mud and see weed, and yes we shall shoot it if it goes after any of our children.  Google Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo, and see the cruelty done that polar bear.

#34. Posted by Careful what you wish for on July 19, 2014

#31 be careful what you wish for…if all the people from the south went home who would be your teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, etc.?

What is wrong with pointing out flaws that Arviat has?  There is garbage everywhere - take a look.  There are kids out all night vandalizing and causing problems.  There are ATV’s driving around all night with no purpose.  People do sleep all day, and stay up all night.

Are you suggesting that it is simply better to ignore the issues?

#35. Posted by marion blumenfeld on July 19, 2014

Shame on you…trying to poach poor polar bears..who are you to try to kill a living creature?? Why are these bears looking and getting filthy from dumping in your garbage??? Shame on yoy again…leave them alone..don.t steal their fish…

#36. Posted by Nik on July 20, 2014

I think majority of these posts talking about killing polar bears is so sad and cruel :( I ask a question: have polar bears killed or injured any humans in Arviat?? The reason the bears are there is simple: climate change/global warming!! They are starving and because their icy he is melting have a lack of food. This is well publicised! I can’t stand poachers full stop - evil and driving animals to extinction as in Africa, Japan (whales and dolphins) etc. Jen #24 I think you are mean and crazy :( how would you like it if someone shot you and made winter pants from your skin?? Sorry but it has to be said!! Clean up the trash and dumps then perhaps the bears will leave - simple!!

#37. Posted by squeezed minds on July 21, 2014

@ #34- “...etc.”?  HaHaHa. I want the complete list of professionals with signed names beside each title.

@#35 and @#36- Picture a human being rummaging around in your garbage for a bit of food.  You would make better sense and be better understood to take care of your own neighbourhoods.

#38. Posted by zoos, come to arctic to view them in life/live on July 21, 2014

We can’t do or say what the nature should do, let alone living animals that roam the earth. either way, we humans lose to untamed animals that have the instinct to kill to survive and we humans are no different to large animals. nor are there any laws by mother nature to keep humans in closed walls or any land, both sides are hypocrites to protect and hunt these animals. One side wants to save animals that can/have survived with or without hands of humans protecting them, the same hands that have polar bears caged and in very hot temperatures in the south and they are suffering more than these polar bears that are roaming the arctic whether they look filthy or clean. you are on the same grounds that are keeping those polar bears in an environment they never knew. if you want to view polar bears, you should come up to the north and do it that way. the cages are killing them at slow death.

#39. Posted by Answers on July 21, 2014

#37.  Mayor, SAO, head of health centre, all doctors, high school teachers, principal, all the guys building the new housing units, guys building the new school, the pilots on Calm Air and First air flights, flight mechanics…..and many more.

get it?

#40. Posted by @#39 on July 21, 2014

Boo.  Are you scared?  HaHaHa.

#41. Posted by Kopanoak on July 21, 2014

Contrary to #11, the polar bear is not the largest land predator. It is number 2 after the Kodiak bear of Alaska.

The bears have just as much right to live as any citizen of Arviat. Perhaps cleaning up garbage around homes and properly managing waste at the dump would be a start towards discouraging habituation.

As for kids getting chased; you have to ask what kinds of parents are not looking after their health and welfare? Letting them run around at all hours of the night and not paying attention to their activities are hardly the bear’s fault.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING


        


Custom Search