A polar bear was fatally shot last week by Canadian authorities after it was spotted wondering near the town of Madeleine-Centre in Quebec. This is the first time the apex Arctic predator has strayed so far south from its natural habitat.
Quebec’s wildlife protection agency was ill-equipped to deal with the 650-pound (295-kilo) mammal and, lacking the skills to capture and relocate the creature, they simply shot it.
The majority of the world’s last remaining polar bears reside in Canada. Polar Bears in Canada estimates that there are just 16,000 left in the country, which represents almost two-thirds of the species’ global population of 26,000. Authorities say they had “no choice” because their priority was protecting the local human community.
“This tragic incident is yet another indicator of climate change’s devastating impact on our planet’s biodiversity,” says Tayla Lance of Animal Survival International. “Polar bears are critical to the Arctic marine ecosystem, but with the current rate of melting polar ice caps, this likely won’t be the last displaced polar bear at risk of being killed. Their homes are vanishing and they increasingly wind up in areas where they do not belong. We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to protect and conserve these vulnerable animals by taking steps to reverse the detrimental influence of climate change. Killing displaced animals because their habitat is being destroyed is not acceptable and goes against everything ASI stands for.”
Banner image credit: SWNS