No, Canada isn’t about to arm bears. The agency responsible for the nation’s northernmost national parks will soon allow researchers, soldiers and “some” aboriginals to carry shotguns to stave off death by polar bear. “Rob Prosper, executive director of northern parks, said permits would only be given to those who know how to handle a shotgun and are certified to use one. Regular visitors would be prohibited from carrying weapons.” Enquiring minds want to know: what if I only visited on an irregular basis? And why only polar bears . . .
“Mr. Prosper noted polar bears present a greater risk to people than grizzlies or black bears,” the globeandmail.com reports. “Although he didn’t have statistics available [’cause no one showed him how to bookmark a website], he said park visitors have experienced conflicts with the large white-furred mammal. No one has died.”
Who knew the fountain of youth was in the frozen north? Another mystery: “Polar bears don’t necessarily differentiate between seals and humans.” I can hear it now: tastes like chicken. Considering the above mortality figures and the quote below, it seems that humans are a rare delicacy for our furry friends.
“Canada’s oldest national park – Banff in Alberta – draws about four million visitors a year. In northern parks where polar bears roam, visitors range from about 10 to a few thousand, Mr. Prosper said.”