Polar bear alert lifted in Quebec, animal “neutralized”

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The alert was lifted Sunday morning for citizens of the Gaspé Peninsula, who were advised to stay indoors due to the presence of a polar bear prowling the area.

In a tweet around 9:00 a.m., the provincial police Eastern Division of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) indicated that the animal had been neutralized in the Madeleine-Centre sector by wildlife protection officers (MFFP).

The polar bear was shot, according to various sources.

The day before, the Quebec Wildlife Protection Agency could not explain how a polar bear could end up in Haute-Gaspésie, forcing residents of the Madeleine-Centre sector, in Sainte-Madeleine-de-la-Rivière -Madeleine, to stay inside while waiting for her capture.

Wildlife protection officer Sylvain Marois told The Canadian Press on Saturday his team knew where the polar bear was, but the operation was tricky due to the animal’s unpredictability, especially that it was not in its natural habitat. He says beware of the bear’s aggressiveness.

A wildlife officer saw traces of the animal in the area where a citizen saw it on Saturday morning. Marois said the nature of the intervention depended on several factors and that he did not rule out the possibility of the bear being put down.

“We are waiting to have a visual on the animal without provoking it,” he said. “We’re going to approach it quietly. We want to make sure that when we get a visual on it, we can intervene. Whether it’s tranquilizer or if we have to film it.”

Marois suggested that the animal could have taken advantage of the ice drift to cross the St. Lawrence River. He said it could be the first time his department has seen a polar bear on the south bank of the river.

Earlier this month, a polar bear was spotted in Minganie, on the Lower North Shore, more than 200 km northeast of Madeleine-Centre.


— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 1, 2022.

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