Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 17, 2006 - 1:39 pm

Polar bear no match for fearsome mother in Ivujivik

Lydia Angyiou unharmed after hand-to-hand street fight

JANE GEORGE

Tiny Lydia Angyiou showed incredible bravery and strength last week when she tackled a polar bear who threatened her son and two friends as they played hockey in front of Ivujivik’s youth centre.

Angyiou, 41, who lives not far from the youth centre, was outside with her two younger children when she saw the polar bear eying the boys. She immediately ran towards animal: all she could think about was protecting her seven-year old son.

Another woman heading to work at the youth centre saw Angyiou fighting with the bear. This eyewitness told police that when she saw Angyiou in front of the youth centre trying to kick the bear, she screamed “polar bear!”

Meanwhile, a child ran to alert Siqualuk Ainalik, 33, to tell him that a bear was in town. He ran to his brother’s house and grabbed a .303-calibre rifle from a qamutik.

“Then, I ran to the place where the bear was,” he told police. “I shot three warning shots in the air.”

Ainalik could see that the bear was struggling with a person. But the three warning shots had no effect; then, the bear looked at him in the eye.

“It moved towards me. I shot the bear four times,” Ainalik said.

Then, Ainalik made sure Angyiou was all right, and that the bear was dead.

When Angyiou arrived shortly afterwards at the police station, she was covered in blood and in shock, but somehow, all right, Ainalik said.

Angyiou was later brought to the nursing station for treatment.

“She saved some kids’ lives, I tell you,” said Kativik Regional Police Capt. Larry Hubert, who was at the nearby co-op hotel when the attack occurred. “I am going to put in a request for a bravery medal from the Governor-General.”

Angyiou is not the first mother to show a superhuman response to her child being in danger. In 1982, Angela Cavallo, a 5’8’ woman from Lawrenceville, Georgia, rescued her-teenage son, Tony, when a 1964 Chevy Impala, which he had jacked up in the driveway, came down on him.

Cavallo grabbed the side of the car with both hands and pulled it up. According to an Associated Press article published at the time, she raised the car by four inches, allowing two neighbors to put the jack back in and drag the boy out. He survived.

Physiologists use the term “fight-or-flight response” to describe the body’s automatic response to threat or danger.

This is an instinctive response that gives human beings enough strength and speed to avoid physical harm. The fight-or-flight response can be activated to protect both ourselves and others in danger.

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