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Declining ice blamed for rise in polar bear sightings after father killed while protecting kids

Declining sea ice, no longer tourism, is prone to blame for the tragic loss of life of an Inuit guy in Nunavut remaining week says a number one polar undergo professional.

Aaron Gibbons — referred to as Gumby — was once educating 4 youngsters, together with his son and daughter, how to pick out fowl eggs remaining week on Sentry Island about 10 kilometres from town of Arviat when he spotted a polar undergo stalking the youngsters.


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Dad dies while protecting his kids from a polar bear in Nunavut

His sister Dorothy Gibbons advised World Information he started throwing rocks on the undergo to distract it whilst the youngsters jumped in his boat.   An skilled hunter who supplies meat for lots of on the town, Gibbons had left his .22 rifle in his boat.

“When the undergo was once a ways sufficient from the youngsters he began operating from the undergo,” Dorothy Gibbons mentioned by way of telephone from Arviat, “however the undergo stuck up with him and attacked him.  His youngsters noticed the entire thing occur.”

Gibbons died as his youngsters used a CB-radio to name for assist. The undergo was once therefore put down.

His circle of relatives remembered him as a steady guy.

“All his lifestyles I by no means noticed him mad,” Gibbons mentioned. “He by no means misplaced his mood, was once by no means indignant.”

Aaron Gibbons was a hunter and fisherman from Nunavut who was killed by a polar bear while protecting his children. (Credit: Gibbons family)

Aaron Gibbons was once a hunter and fisherman from Nunavut who was once killed by way of a polar undergo whilst protective his youngsters. (Credit score: Gibbons circle of relatives)

Handout: Gibbons circle of relatives

Within the days after his loss of life many locally blamed greater tourism for bears dropping their concern of people. Tours in within sight Churchill Manitoba permit vacationers to stand up shut and private to bears even though by way of legislation they’re no longer allowed to feed them.

Bears, says Arviat elder Bobby Suluk, by no means was an issue.

“We moved (to Arviat) nearly 60 years in the past,” Suluk mentioned. “At the moment the risk of the polar undergo was once by no means considered. Shall we even sleep at the land in a tent.

“However this present day we will be able to’t sleep in a tent as a result of we’re at all times frightened of the polar bears getting into our tent and attacking the people who find themselves dozing.”

Between 1870 and 2014 there have been 73 showed polar undergo assaults, with 20 fatalities. However remaining yr by myself there have been over 300 polar undergo sightings in Arviat.


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Newfoundland polar bears damage hot tub, snowmobiles on early trek north

Suluk says they’re additionally annoyed that the neighborhood is most effective allowed to kill 8 polar bears every fall — a complete that they succeed in in 3 days.

“The federal government can most effective give us that collection of polar bears that the neighborhood can harvest legally,” says Suluk.  “As opposed to that, if a polar undergo involves the neighborhood, someone can kill it which might imply that it’s a defence kill, which means that it risks an individual’s lifestyles or it risks an individual’s assets like a cottage or the rest.”

Polar undergo professional Ian Stirling of the College of Alberta says they’re no longer flawed to mention bears are posing a larger downside than ever earlier than. Stirling says you by no means used to peer bears this just about land as they hunted nearly completely on ice floes.

“The principle clarification (for bears coming just about the town) is most likely the lack of ice,” he says. “Now not the ice itself however what it approach for bears. Overdue spring and early summer time is their number one searching time.”

And if the bears don’t have the ice floes to seek from they’ve to conform. Regardless of the rise in sightings Stirling says the polar undergo inhabitants has reduced 20% in recent times. And with international warming no longer appearing any indicators of slowing down it sounds as if the undergo downside will proceed.


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Polar bear behaviour previously unknown to researchers captured on body cam collars




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