Play­ful po­lar bear makes a visit to Wes­leyville

RCMP is­sued warn­ing to res­i­dents to re­main cau­tious and avoid the an­i­mal

The Beacon (Gander) - - Sports - BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY Pa­trick.mur­phy@tc.tc

By all ac­counts Wes­leyville’s lat­est vis­i­tor is in town for a bit of fun and ad­ven­ture, but the RCMP re­mind peo­ple of the dan­ger posed by a visit by one of Canada’s largest preda­tors.

“He was just sort of lin­ger­ing around the is­lands for awhile, it at­tracted a fair amount of crowd, peo­ple want­ing to take pic­tures of the bear and see the bear,” said Cpl. Kim­ball Vardy of the RCMP’s New Wes Val­ley De­tach­ment. “He was just out there play­ing around slid­ing on the snow, hav­ing a bit of fun for him­self.”

The sight of the play­ful po­lar bear at­tracted lots of at­ten­tion from lo­cal res­i­dents last week. Jes­sica An­drews lives in Wes­leyville and first heard news of the bear while at work, and ea­gerly tracked its progress through­out the day.

“I knew there was a post­ing on the clas­si­fieds that there was po­lar bear spot­ted,” said An­drews. “I was kind of look­ing out at work, couldn’t see him, so I went home af­ter work, went inside, got the binoc­u­lars, looked through them, couldn’t see him.”

Af­ter search­ing for a while, An­drews says she had to take her dog’s out­side, and that’s when she heard some yelling.

“There was a guy across the road and I could hear him say, ‘look he’s up on the rocks,” said An­drews. “So I ran back in and got the binoc­u­lars and for two hours un­til he dis­ap­peared I was in the spy­glasses look­ing through them, and I was just be­yond amazed.”

By night­fall how­ever, the bear en­tered the wa­ter and be­gan to make its way to shore. Headed to­wards Wes­leyville, as Vardy and other res­i­dents keenly watched its progress.

“At one point he struck land just on the back of a per­sons house,” said Vardy. “I was there and I man­aged to scare the bear away, back out into the wa­ter and he didn’t show again un­til this morn­ing.”

Vardy says the bear went back out on the is­lands. The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change’s Wildlife Di­vi­sion mon­i­tored the sit­u­a­tion.

The RCMP asked res­i­dents to ex­er­cise cau­tion and avoid the an­i­mal.

“It doesn’t seem to be hunt­ing right now, it seems to be more of a cu­ri­ous bear, that’s sort of ex­plor­ing the area,” said Vardy. “But we are re­mind­ing peo­ple to stay away from the bear, don’t get too close to it. If you’re go­ing to ob­serve the bear, do it from a dis­tance.”

Vardy also noted should the bear en­ter the town again res­i­dents are asked to avoid any con­tact with the an­i­mal, and to con­tact the RCMP at 709-536-2419. Sight­ings can also be re­ported to the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change’s Wildlife Di­vi­sion at 709-258-5334.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF OCEAN VIEW PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Top right: A po­lar bear spot­ted on the is­lands near Wes­leyville March 29, takes a moment to stretch up­wards. Sev­eral com­menters have noted the bear looks as though he is pray­ing.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF OCEAN VIEW PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Far right: All legs, the po­lar bear frol­ics in the snow on the is­lands just off shore of Wes­leyville March 29.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF OCEAN VIEW PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Right: A po­lar bear spot­ted on the is­lands near Wes­leyville plays around in the snow March 29.

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