Canadian Rangers working to keep them out of community
A polar bear roaming Black Tickle recently. Wendy Quinlan photo
Polar Bears are a regular sight in Black Tickle during the winter and this year it has been no different.
Canadian Ranger Sergeant Jeffrey Keefe estimates that over ten polar bears have been spotted within the community in the past week or so. The bears travel south on the ice following the seals and with Black Tickle located on an island further out in the Atlantic, the town is in the direct path of the ice flow. The bears start to head ashore once the ice breaks up.
Keefe says the ice is pretty much right at their doorstep, adding one year they had up to 12 on the island in one day.
Bernard Dyson is one resident who has come closer to a polar bear than he’d like. He calls their presence in the community “a real nuisance”.
“I had a dog there and it started walking over to the dog and the poor dog was frightened to death,” he recounts. “It came up about 20 feet from the house and there was no way I could drive it away.”
Presently, the Canadian Rangers are handling the situation, working to keep the bears out. Keefe says they are using bear bangers – 12-gauge shots that explode – and rubber bullets in order to scare the bears away.
Keefe says the problem isn’t any better this year than it has been in the past.
“Right now, all the broke up ice is all gone back out of the harbour so it’ll probably be a few days before we see one again,” he said on Wednesday. “But once the ice starts to break up, they’ll come in along here again.”
Tracks in Quirpon
They are also being reported on the Northern Peninsula.
Fulton Lawless was snowmobiling near Quirpon last Sunday when he came across the tracks.
Lawless said the tracks were drifted in a bit, suggesting the bear had passed through some time before being discovered.
The single pair of tracks was “heading towards open water (to the right of Quirpon Island).”