For about a week or so, a very skinny bear was hanging out along the coast. He looked to be in some pain, having a tough time walking and, well, there’s honestly not much hope for him. It is a bit of a sad sight to see as his hips constantly gave out or he slept the day away. Loose skin hung over a still large but emaciated frame. He earned the local nickname, Skinny Pete.
This weekend, Skinny Pete sort of transformed into Saint Peter, or Peter the Great if you like. Late one night, Skinny Pete gathered up enough energy to go start bashing on the wall of a local cabin, so much so that the owner, not one prone to calling Conservation Officers, had to put in a call to the Polar Bear Hotline… instead of the alternative. Skinny Pete was darted and hauled away to jail, pushed to the top of the list to be airlifted north.
But here’s the twist, Skinny Pete looks to have led a very intriguing life. He was first tagged and handled as a cub and according to his lip tattoo and records, he is 23 years old. While he has been handled by researchers seven times, he has never encountered Polar Bear Alert until now. In all those years, it doesn’t look like he ever venture west of Knight’s Hill.
He was also a pretty ‘clean’ bear. He did have a few scars but for 23 years of age, he didn’t have the big black strips of skin showing from lost battles. Maybe he sat out the mating war on the ice all these years, or maybe Skinny Pete was more like Peter the Great for the past ten or more years. This bear may have been one of the kings of the western Hudson Bay population. All about how you look at it I guess.
Its bears like this that you kind of wish Conservation could leave a seal or something with them when they wake up from the tranquilizer after being flown north. A bit of an offering, an homage, to one of Hudson Bay’s former top bears. Either way, I hope he survives long enough to crawl back out for one last ice season and, at least, die out there where he belongs.
Of course, I have to thrown in a link to one of my favourite songs since we’re on the topic of Saint Peters… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO2Ux9enzSk
What else? I will update the missing week of blogs tonight… newspaper is finally done and, well, bear season has a way of getting away but I’ll work on posting at least something everyday until the end from now on… its been an eventful season so far even with a few days of fog, rain and more fog. Daily highs are only about -4C or -5C so that’s good news for bears and bear watchers…