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Polar bear kills dogs

Neils Christensen
Northern News Services

Grise Fiord (Dec 22/03) - A hunter in Hall Beach had to kill a female polar bear and her two cubs.

Early in the morning on Dec. 9, the sow and her two cubs entered a dog kennel in the community and killed three dogs.

James Kukkik heard the disturbance and shot the three bears before they could cause any more damage in Hall Beach.

Drikus Gissing, regional wildlife manager, said the department of sustainable development is investigating the incident.

"As far as we're concerned, the hunter didn't do anything wrong," he said. "It's policy to investigate."

Gissing explained that earlier in the week a group of hunters and wildlife officers tried to deter the bears, but they came back a few hours later.

This is the second polar bear incident in a Nunavut community in the last two weeks. A mother bear and her cubs were killed near Grise Fiord two weeks ago after they kept returning to the hamlet.

Last week, more bear prints were spotted near the community's dump.

More bears, more problems

"This year has definitely been a problem for polar bears," he said. "There have been a lot of defence kills."

Gissing explained there are several factors they are looking into.

"One cause might be that hunters need to dispose of whale carcasses better. Freeze-up is happening later and bears are hanging around the shore line. A third factor is that there are more polar bears around," he said.

Having to destroy problem bears isn't the best answer, Gissing said. Currently the wildlife department is looking into ways to deter the animals.

"We do use things like bangers and rubber bullets, but sometimes they aren't enough," he said. "We're looking at things like electric fences. All of those cost money."