Rolan Warrior, an Inupiat guide from Kaktovik, was guiding tourists to a barrier island to observe polar bears when he spotted one of the animals entangled in a net.
Geoff York, Polar Bears International’s Senior Director of Conservation, stated, “From rescue to conflict reduction efforts, Northern communities play a significant role in the conservation of polar bears; they are on the ground 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have important experience and perspectives passed down from untold generations.”
Residents of Kaktovik in boats prevented the bear from drowning until the tranquilizers took effect. The bear was subsequently brought to shore, where the net was removed.
The biologists were able to disentangle the bear, examine it for injuries, and set it free.
“It’s wonderful to see locals and scientists working together to solve an evident issue. In this era of unparalleled change, we require greater Arctic-wide and intergroup cooperation, said York.
There is a delicate balance between bears and Inuit people in that region, and on this day, it was Inuit volunteers in small boats that rescued the life of the giant Nanuuq ( Polar bear Kaktovik Inupiat name)
Flora Rexford explains, “My mother and father went out on their boat, and then the guide, Rolan Warrior, and the guy whose net it was went out with their boats. They helped with rescuing the bear because they darted it, but it went into the ocean, so if the boats weren’t there… they were crucial in helping to save it. They got it to the shore – rolled it up on the beach – struggled to get it up in the waves, and