WINNIPEG — A young polar bear that attacked a man in Churchill earlier this month will be the first wild bear to find a new home at Winnipeg’s new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
The decision to spare the bear — in the past polar bears that attacked people were euthanized — was made this week by zoo and provincial officials shortly after Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh expanded regulations to allow the bear to be brought to Winnipeg.
“I’m glad the bear is getting a second chance,” said Garett Kolsun, who was attacked by the 122-kilogram bear early
Sept. 7 as he walked alone in the Hudson Bay community.
“I’d rather not see it euthanized. What happened between me and the bear, we were kind of both in the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak. It was a bear being a bear. People live in the bear’s backyard and it was just passing though.”
Kolsun, a Canadian Border Services officer temporarily assigned to work in the port town, suffered superficial puncture wounds to his hip and scratches. He escaped after diverting the bear’s attention with the bright screen of his cellphone.
“It was awfully scary, but I would much rather see it stay alive. They’re majestic animals. We want them to be around for future generations. You wouldn’t want to see it be euthanized because it was being a bear.”
How soon the bear will be flown from Churchill — he’s being held at the town’s polar bear holding facility — is still being worked out. Dr. Chris Enright, head of veterinary services for the zoo, said a flight will likely be arranged within the next two weeks.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2013