Canadian police kill polar bear that migrated from its habitat in search of food

A polar bear was shot and killed by police on the Canadian Gaspé Peninsula after the endangered animal moved more than 100km away from its natural habitat, possibly in search of food

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Canadian police kill polar bear that migrated from its habitat in search of food

A polar bear was shot and killed by police on the Canadian Gaspé Peninsula after the endangered animal moved more than 100km away from its natural habitat, possibly in search of food. Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs of Canada, on social media, said: "A transfer of the animal would not have been possible as it was very complex and risky.

The possibility of moving the polar bear was considered too dangerous, as it entailed risks for public safety and for the teams deployed, especially if the doses to put the animal to sleep had not been adequately estimated.

" The outrage of animal welfare organizations has resulted in social media, defeating the decision to cull a specimen of an endangered species. This is the first time that a polar bear has come this close to inhabited areas, as so far there has never been such a close sighting in Québec.

The polar bear lives in the Arctic and its habitat is included in 6 countries: Canada (Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, Yukon), USA (Alaska), Russia (Krasnoyarsk, Magadan, Northwestern Federal District, Western Siberia, Yakutia), Greenland, Norway (Svalbard), Iceland.

The current polar bear population is estimated at 20-25,000, 60% of which are in Canada. As evidence of this, a polar bear is depicted on the Canadian 2 dollar coin. The polar bear is (like the brown bear) an alpha predator, being at the top of the food chain it therefore has few enemies.

Only the young can be attacked by wolves or other polar bears. Of course, man remains the real danger for this species. The polar bear is the most meat-eating member of the Ursid family. Its primary protein source consists primarily of seals, but also cetaceans, walruses, molluscs, crabs, fish, even sea worms, birds, young eagles and owls, wolverines, polar foxes, reindeer and lemmings.

It can also eat berries and waste. The most famous hunting method of polar bears is that used for seals: the plantigrade hears the sound of the prey under the ice, lurks near a crack and, as soon as the prey comes out to breathe, kills it with a violent paw.

Only the males have such powerful musculature and the size to attack belugas and narwhals, both up to five and a half meters long, easily over 1000 kg in weight and the latter with the long tusk typical of males. Once the prey has been identified, often a young or a female narwhal, the white bear enters the water and nimbly attacks the cetacean in the delicate points, such as the fins and the belly, avoiding the fatal blows.