Field notes from Arviat: The bears are back in town
For the fourth year, WWF is proud to support successful efforts to keep people and bears safe in the Hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut. That means hiring Leo Ikakhik, an experienced local, to act as polar bear monitor, patrolling the streets of the community all night during peak polar bear season, from mid-September through mid-December. With less Arctic sea ice habitat available, more bears are entering communities, posing a threat to everyone’s safety. Leo sees what few Canadians get to see, and we’re proud to share his experiences from 2013, captured in his nightly field notes.
Appendix A: WWF-Arviat Polar Bear-Human Conflict Reduction Project
Field Notes by Leo Ikakhik (Polar Bear Monitor)
(Transcribed by Keith Collier)
Sept. 23, 2013 One polar bear east side of metal dump, 1:59am. Weather calm, warm evening. Second bear sighted near Lumber Supply Store, 4:30am. Swam across the inlet north. Third mother with one cub sighted near the old runway. Fourth bear at 7:05am on the north-east side of town. All these bears are healthy bears. Same bear came back 7:30am, chased it down towards the point. 5 polar bears that I chased away on Sept. 23.
Sept. 25, 2013 Two bears near the graveyard, mother and cub. They were heading west towards town, chased them for a while ‘til they jumped in the water at 12:40am. Lone bear near Vital U’s shack north east side of town, chased it down towards the point at 3:13am. 7:05am one bear down from the point. Chased it back down towards where it came from. Right after that chase, I saw 3 more on the other side of the bay. 12:06 bear near dock by James T’s house, jumped in the water right away, went across the bay. Same bear came back 2:10am. Pretty much same location. Chased it little bit farther down, went back in the water. 2 more bears near the old runway where the water trucks fill. Mother with a small cub went in the water, went across the inlets towards Paul E’s cabin, 5:30am. 4 bears sighted across the bay, they were just hanging out in one place at Kiqitarjuk, 8:00am. Sept. 26, 2013 No sightings this night. I went to all the spots where I was seeing the first couple nights in a row.
This night I got shut out or we played 0-0 draw. The weather was not too bad but late into the night it got crappy, mist and the wind picked up. Late in the morning it started to rain hard, that was just before 8:00am. Still pretty windy.