Polar bear warnings issued for parts of northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Polar bear warnings have been issued to residents of southern Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula at the northern tip of Newfoundland.

Wildlife officials say migrating bears have been spotted near Port Hope Simpson, St. Lewis and Black Tickle in Labrador and near St. Anthony on the island of Newfoundland.

The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture issued a statement today saying conservation officers are monitoring these areas.

The huge carnivores are typically seen in the region at this time of year as they follow seals heading south to breed on ice floes.

Residents are being told to properly store and dispose of garbage, keep their pets inside or under close supervision, travel in groups and never approach a fresh kill or carcass.

The department say that if a polar bear spots or smells you, the best things to do are: remain calm; give the bear space to get away; back away but do not run; avoid eye contact; and if you must speak, do so calmly and firmly.

"Under no circumstances should residents approach a polar bear," the department's statement says. "While every situation is different, when encountering a polar bear, take note of the bear’s behaviour."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press