ST. BRENDAN'S, N.L. — Residents of a village in northeastern Newfoundland say they were shaken when a polar bear wandered close to their community, but wildlife officers were quick to tranquilize the big animal and cart it off using a sling under a helicopter.
Dennis Broderick says he left his home in St. Brendan's to shovel snow when he spotted the wayward bear, which ran off to eat a seal on the sea ice near his property.
"He just took the seal and ate it, just like someone was eating cookies," Mayor Veronica Broomfield said in an interview Thursday.
Such sightings are common at this time of year along the coast of northeastern Newfoundland, where the large predators follow seals headed south on ice floes.
However, Broomfield says polar bears don't usually amble into residential areas. The large amount of pack ice this year has made it easier for them to get around, she said.
The decision to call wildlife officers was made because residents felt the bear posed a threat to people in the village.
"You got kids going to school, older people in their homes by themselves, and you got people out for a walk," said Broomfield. "Everybody was scared."
The officers circled the bear in the helicopter before shooting it with a tranquilizer dart, radio station VOCM reported.
The capture in St. Brendan's was the latest in a series of polar bear sightings in the area.
A week ago in Wesleyville, N.L., Jessica Power took a photo of a polar bear that looked as if it was praying to a large cross that was staked on an nearby island.
The Canadian Press