The provincial Land Resources Department issued a polar bear warning Thursday, confirming reports of sightings in St. Lewis and Charlottetown, N.L. (Unsplash Stock Photo)

Coastal Labrador on high alert for polar bears

Polar bears were spotted roaming through residential areas

Coastal Labrador is on high alert after polar bears were spotted roaming through residential areas.

The provincial Land Resources Department issued a polar bear warning Thursday, confirming reports of sightings in St. Lewis and Charlottetown, N.L., on Wednesday and Thursday.

READ MORE: Cougar caught on camera near Okanagan school

One man reported seeing a polar bear outside his shed earlier this week, according to an employee at the town of St. Lewis.

A statement from the department said it’s believed the same bear was sighted in Charlottetown and St. Lewis.

“All residents of the north and south coasts of Labrador and the northern coast of the island of Newfoundland are advised to be cautious,” the statement read.

Residents say sightings are not unusual at this time of year, but the department says once bears and their tracks are sighted, people should take extra care to protect pets, children and themselves.

In St. Lewis, weather-related road closures left the small community of about 200 people isolated for a few days, but a town employee says wildlife officials arrived there Friday morning.

Lawrence Rumbolt of St. Lewis saw large bear tracks outside his house on Wednesday night, leaving prints so large his first thought was that they were from snowshoes.

“He was right alongside the house,” Rumbolt said. “He wasn’t very far away, about 10 feet. He was pretty close.”

Rumbolt followed the tracks to a nearby cove on Thursday morning, but he says he has not seen signs of the animal since.

Bear sightings are nothing new for the lifelong St. Lewis resident, who says he’s encountered the beautiful but intimidating creatures a number of times over the years.

Once Rumbolt said he found himself a few feet from a polar bear on the way home from a friend’s house.

And about six years ago, he said “the biggest bear (he’d) ever seen,” which he estimated as weighing close to 1,000 pounds, paid a visit to his home.

He remembers the room went dark just before he saw the animal’s face filling the small window.

“When I looked, he was looking in through the window and he had his nose up against the screen,” Rumbolt said.

“I was right alongside him. I could have touched him with my hand.”

The polar bear looked around the yard, poking into a parked truck and ripping the seat off a Ski-Doo before Rumbolt scared the bear off with a warning shot.

He said polar bears are striking to see but it’s best to remain cautious as they can approach quickly and silently, especially when camouflaged by snow.

“They’re a lovely bear to look at … I’ve had them right up alongside me,” he said. “But you’ve got to be careful what you’re doing with them”

The land resources department urged residents in the area to keep pets inside, travel in groups and take caution with hunting and garbage disposal.

The department also asked people to report any further sightings to the Cartwright wildlife office.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Business Profile: Miller brings nearly 30 years of experience to Golden Home Building Centre

Are you thinking of starting a project around the house, fixing something… Continue reading

Bacchus Books hosts Gerritt Shumyk March 25

A cozy venue, nestled in the heart of downtown Golden, hosts musicians… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Dusty days ahead

The weather is getting warmer, Golden’s resident grizzly bear Boo has come… Continue reading

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Most Read