That polar bear-sled dog friendship story has a dark twist
Friday, November 18, 2016, 9:44 AM - It warmed hearts across the Internet. But it was just too good to be true.
The video above, showing a polar bear apparently petting a chained sled dog rather than behaving like a hungry apex predator, made the rounds this week after being put on the Internet by a tour guide near Churchill, Man.
Now, more information has emerged from the property where it was shot: It seems a polar bear killed and ate one of the sled dogs days before the video was taken, requiring action from Manitoba conservation officers, who immobilized the bear.
"A mother and cub were also removed because there were allegations the bears were being fed and the females' behaviour was becoming a concern," an unnamed Manitoba Sustainable Development spokesperson told CBC News Thursday.
The farm's owner, Brian Ladoon, said the incident happened on "the only day we didn't feed the ... bears, the only night we didn't put anything out," according to CBC.
Wildlife experts say feeding large predators like polar bears can lead them to associate human settlements with food, making them more likely to approach them, and more likely to be killed by residents.
"It's basically a death sentence for the bears," University of Alberta Prof. Ian Stirling told CBC News.
Canada is home to around two thirds of the world's polar bear population, about 16,000 individuals according to Environment Canada. In Canada they are considered a species of special concern, and globally are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.