A woman in Kimmirut, a community of around 400 people in Canada's far north region of Nunavut, got the fright of her life on Sunday when she walked out of her house and encountered a polar bear with two cubs.
Kamigaq Aqpik was leaving her home to walk downtown when, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the bears about about a dozen feet away.
"I was very scared," she said. "I had been carrying a 4-month-old baby on my back, and I was so surprised that I could not think to even protect myself. I could not think clearly, I was so afraid and so startled."
Aqpik lives by the airport in Kimmirut and was able to retreat back to her house safely and let her husband know there were bears outside.
Officials were called to scare the bears off.
Chris Wex, the wildlife officer in Kimmirut, said the bears passed through the hamlet in about 20 minutes on their way to the sea.
"They had gone from one end of the runway where there are new houses – and where they were first seen -- and down the runway, down the bank and into town. (It’s) probably only a hundred meters from where they came off the runway to the sea. It was very quick."
Eyewitnesses said the bears did not seem to be looking for food and that they were in good shape.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.