After petting chained sled dog, polar bear in Canada likely ate the animal

By @vitthernandez on
Polar Bears
A couple of polar bears, Felix (L), a nine-year-old, and Aurora, a six-year-old, is seen inside its enclosure at the Royev Ruchey Zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, March 29, 2016. Reuters/Ilya Naymushin

Fierce dogs have been known to attack children, even infants, but when it comes to other larger animals, it is the dogs which could be the victims. On the outset, a video taken by a Canadian mechanic and part-time tourist guide seems the other way around.

The 34-second video, taken by David De Mueller, has become viral on YouTube with more than 3 million views in one week, seems like a heart-warming moment of inter-specie friendship between a wild animal and a potential prey. De Mueller was bringing two tourists around Churchill, Manitoba, to look for white giant polar bears when he saw one.

New York Daily News reports that he saw a white polar bear approach a chained dog petting the puppy. “I just so happen to catch a video of a lifetime,” CBC quotes De Mueller. “I had no idea what was going to happen, and then sure enough he started petting that dog, acted like he was a friend,” the part-time tourist guide shares.

The Churchill native, who admits never seeing anything like it, was at Mile 5 Dog Sanctuary, owned and managed by Brian Ladoon. He shares of being aware of bears having a somewhat friendly behaviour with dogs, “but for a bear to pet like a human would pet a dog is just mind-blowing,” De Mueller says.

Ladoon, who has been raising a rare breed of Canadian sled dogs for over four decades on a land the Canadian government gave him in 1969 to help rescue the rare breed, says these dogs have a wild side too and could be primitive and fearless.

While the dog keep “nasty” bears in their place, Ladoon says that most of the time the two animals get along strangely well. Ladoon, who admits he provides food for polar bears even if it breaches Manitoba’s Endangered Species and Ecosystem Act, says Saturday was the only day he forget to feed the polar bears since he failed to put out that night any food.

The next day, Ladoon discovered a polar bear ate one of the Canadian sled dogs, although it is not clear if it is the same chained pup that a bear just petted the previous day. The incident led conservation officers from Manitoba Sustainable Development to immobilise a polar bear and transfer one of the nine polar bears spotted in the area to a holding facility for killing and eating one of Ladoon’s dogs.

University of Alberta Professor Ian Sterling advises Ladoon not to chain his dogs outdoors in polar bear territory. He also warns against feeding the bears which becomes a death sentence for the chained dogs. “Any situation that brings bears in to feed in an unnatural situation in association with human beings, I think, should not take place at all,” Sterling stresses.

Inuit hunters add that dogs would only act as guard dogs if unchained. But being chained makes the dogs vulnerable to an attack, Gizmodo reports.