Polar bear spotted in southern Canada, extremely rare phenomenon

In the village of Madeleine-Centre, we are not used to this kind of meeting. However, it was a polar bear that was seen by residents in this municipality in southern Quebec, far from its usual territory, on Saturday April 30.

“The dog was yelping and I heard my partner yell, ‘There’s a bear! There’s a bear!'”, told AFP Sophie Bonneville, who lives a few months a year in this village of about 2,000 inhabitants, located more than 800 km northeast of Montreal. The Sûreté du Québec, the province’s police, later warned residents on Twitter: “A polar bear was seen in the Madeleine-Centre sector. The police are securing the scene. (…) We ask residents to stay sheltered and not venture outside.”

“Current climate change has something to do with it”

No one has ever seen thisadded Sophie Bonneville, even wildlife officers or the police. People thought it was a joke”. “It is very unusual to see such a northern species end up so far from its southern limit of distribution”, confirmed to AFP the biologist and researcher in marine ecology Lyne Morissette. For her, “Current climate change has something to do with it”. A study published in Nature Climate Change (in English) in 2020 revealed that global warming could lead to the virtual extinction of this emblematic animal since the ice floe, its habitat, is gradually disappearing.

After passing through the village, the animal headed for the forest, and was still free on Saturday afternoon. Police were securing the area on Saturday, and wildlife management and protection officers were looking for his whereabouts.

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