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Province issues warning about polar bears on the Northern Peninsula

Mark Penney's photos of the polar bear in Great Brehat.
Mark Penney recently took this photo of a polar bear in Great Brehat. - Mark Penney

NORTHERN PENINSULA, NL – The Northern Peninsula has been a popular travel destination for polar bears of late.

An influx of the animals to the province for the second winter in a row prompted the provincial government to issue a warning on Thursday, March 15, cautioning residents polar bears have been reported in several areas of the region, including St. Anthony, Great Brehat, St.Carol’s, Roddickton and Griquet.

The warning comes with some advice for people to avoid encounters with polar bears.

It includes being aware of your surroundings, keeping pets inside or under close supervision, travelling in groups when possible, never approaching a fresh kill or carcass, and adhering to the proper storage, collection and disposal of garbage to avoid attracting bears into communities and backyards.

If you happen to stumble upon a polar bear, however, you should know how to react.

If the bear does not know you are there, quietly back away and leave the area, trying to stay downwind. Keep an eye on the animal, and never get between a bear and her cubs.

If the bear has seen or smelled you, remain as calm as you can. Give the bear space and a route to get away. Back away, get out of the situation, but never run. If you must speak, do so calmly and firmly. Also, avoid direct eye contact with the bear.

Anyone sighting a polar bear is asked to contact the local District Forestry and Wildlife Office in Roddickton at (709) 457-2300 or St. Anthony at (709) 454-8435. After regular office hours call (709) 457-7243.

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