4.17.2009

polar bears in newfoundland

If you read wmtc when Allan and I were in Newfoundland, you may remember my friend "NCF," Newfie Campaign Friend. We met NCF's mom - who insisted we stay for dinner and spend the night - and visited the birthplace of her grandmother, which just happens to be a National Historic Site, the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse.

NCF sent me these photos, sent to her from a friend back home. They were taken around Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. Click to enlarge.

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I didn't find any stories online about this incident, but it is mentioned in a CBC story about another polar bear sighting in Central Newfoundland:
Conservation officers caught two polar bears over the weekend — one in Cape Freels near Lumsden, the other in Bonaventure on the Bonavista peninsula.

Rebecca Jeffery, a wildlife biologist with the Newfoundland and Labrador government, said at the end of March that while sightings of polar bears may be up, that doesn't mean there are more; they might just be moving in areas where they are more likely to be seen.

12 comments:

Amy said...

Wow. He is beautiful. But why is he out on the road? Are the polar bears being driven out of their natural habitat like brown bears and deer are down here? Are polar bear sightings unusual for Newfoundland? How close is their normal, natural habitat?

Sorry if that is too many questions! I just hope he/she is safe.

L-girl said...

"Are the polar bears being driven out of their natural habitat like brown bears and deer are down here?"

Polar bears are the living symbol of climate change, no? Their habitats are completely disappearing. They are being found drowned, starved to death, etc. etc.

However, that is not necessarily what happened to this bear. He may have just gone off course. See the story linked below the pics.

"Are polar bear sightings unusual for Newfoundland?"

Yes.

"How close is their normal, natural habitat?"

I really don't know, although I think they are probably seen in Labrador, the other part of the same province, which has an icy coast. They could pretty easily travel down from the north to Labrador, then make it over to Newfoundland.

You see the tranquilizer darts in this one? I assume he was sedated, collected and transported back to where he belongs. If he was killed it would have been a big story - plus the news story says "captured".

Amy said...

Thanks for your answers. Although I know that polar bears in general are suffering, I did not know that Newfoundland was that close to where they live naturally. Around here bears and deer are found wandering in the suburbs, having little or nothing to do with global warming, but rather having more to do with the destruction of forests and the rest of their natural habitat. It is just so sad and so scary, seeing deer standing by the side of the highways.

Thanks again for your answers and for the post.

L-girl said...

Newfoundland is definitely not their natural habitat, but it's conceivable this could just happen as an oddity.

On the other hand, polar bears are definitely showing up in places that they shouldn't, because of habitat disappearance. I don't know which this is.

Bears, deer, coyotes, etc. in the suburbs are an issue almost everywhere now. It's very troubling, and it only gets worse. I'm so aware of that now that I live in sprawl.

L-girl said...

This map (the one on the left) could give you an idea of how a polar bear could get to Newfoundland - from the Arctic, to Labrador, to Newfoundland.

Amy said...

Still looks like a hell of a trip from the Arctic to Newfoundland! Poor bear. Thanks for the map. I once spent an hour in Gander, Newfoundland when our plane coming back from Europe needed refueling, but I had no idea how far north we were. I was so glad to be back on this side of the Atlantic that I thought we were close to home and was surprised how much longer we still had to go. Just that typical and embarrassing US-centric sense of the world.

L-girl said...

It's a long way, for sure.

I've always had a terrible sense of geography, too, although I spend a lot of time looking at maps to try to improve it. Newfoundland is not that far north, but it's very far east.

I always mention how I didn't even know there was a time zone between NY and London until New Year's Eve 1999, when there were broadcasts of celebrations around the world. After the ones in the UK and Ireland, I thought Eastern time zone was next. But noooo....

When we went to Peru, I was shocked to learn that it is in the same time zone as NYC and Toronto! I know it's on the Pacific coast, so how could it be in Eastern time?!

Ah well, live and learn. :)

Amy said...

My weakest category in Trivial Pursuit and on Jeopardy has always been geography. Yet I love maps and can stare at them for hours. Weird.

sailor boy said...

In 1986 I was on the bridge of the CSS Baffin. (Out of, the Bedford Institute Of Oceanography) When we passed very close to an iceberg off the coast of Northern Labrador. Their was a very large polar bear on it and it appeared to be dead. My captain told me that polar bears will get on icebergs to rest and then are afraid to get off when they drift to far from land or sea ice and sometimes starve to death. I think that's how this bear probably got to Bonavista Bay. He just hitched a ride on a passing berg and jumped off in Newfoundland.

L-girl said...

You know, I was wondering about travel by iceberg! But I didn't know if that were possible. Thank you, Sailor Boy!

Amy said...

That is very cool---an iceberg ride! (No pun intended.) But the dead polar bear--that's sad.

L-girl said...

For polar bears, climate change *is* the destruction of habitat. The same thing that's happening to those deer and bear all over the US NE (and many other places) is happening to the polar bears in the arctic via warming.

I know everyone here knows that. Just a reminder/thought.