Polar Bear Rescued by an Inupiat Community
Rolan Warrior, an Inupiat guide from Kaktovik, was leading visitors to a barrier island to see polar bears when he saw one of the animals entangled in a net.
“From rescue to conflict reduction efforts, Northern communities play an important role in polar bear conservation—they are on the ground 24/7 and have important experience and perspectives passed down from generations untold,” said Geoff York, Senior Director of Conservation at Polar Bears International.
Residents in boats in Kaktovik protected the bear from drowning until the tranquilizers kicked in. They then guided the bear to shore, where the net was removed.
The bear was untangled, checked for injuries, and released by biologists.
“It’s wonderful to see locals and scientists working together to tackle an evident problem.” “We need more collaboration throughout the Arctic and between groups in this moment of unparalleled change,” York added.
The connection between bears and the Inuit people of that region is a delicate balance of predators – and on this day, it was Inuit volunteers in tiny boats that saved the huge Nanuuq’s life ( Polar bear Kaktovik Inupiat name)
Flora Rexford claims, “My mother and father boarded their boat, and then the guide, Rolan Warrior, the person whose net it was, joined them. They assisted in the bear’s rescue because they darted it, but it fell into the ocean, so if the boats hadn’t been there… they would have been important in saving it. They brought it to the coast, rolled it up on the beach, struggled to get it up on the beach in the waves, and received the net for free.”