Remember that heartwarming video showing a dog as it was being petted by a giant polar bear? In a twist that comes as a surprise to no one, a polar bear had to be immobilised last week after it killed and ate a dog from the same sled pack.
Brian Ladoon, who runs the 5 Dog Sanctuary in Churchill, Manitoba, told CBC News that he spotted nine bears near the area where he keeps his dogs chained up, and that one of these bears killed and ate one of his dogs. “That was the only day we didn’t feed the fucking bears, the only night we didn’t put anything out,” he exclaimed.
A spokesperson from Manitoba Sustainable Development corroborated Ladoon’s account, telling the CBC that “Conservation officers had to immobilize a bear in that area last week and move it to the holding facility because it killed one of his dogs,” adding that “A mother and cub were also removed because there were allegations the bears were being fed and the females’ behaviour was becoming a concern.”
In Manitoba, it’s illegal to feed polar bears because they’re listed as an endangered species. Undaunted, Ladoon said he takes “care of bears” and admits that he’s been “charged with everything… under the book.”
Ian Stirling, a professor at the University of Alberta, told the CBC that Ladoon shouldn’t be allowed to chain his dogs outside in polar bear territory, and that the killer bear was likely “thin and hungry”. According to Inuit hunters, dogs will only act as guard dogs when they’re not chained up, because if they’re on a chain they know they’re vulnerable to an attack.
Stirling characterised the practice of feeding polar bears as a “death sentence”, saying that friendly relationships between dogs and polar bears can only lead to disaster. “Any situation that brings bears in to feed in an unnatural situation in association with human beings, I think, should not take place at all,” he told the CBC.