Churchill, Manitoba calls itself the polar bear capital of the world.
But the bears don’t usually wander this far into town, during the day and to run the bases at a local baseball diamond.
The province’s Polar Bear Alert Program was called on Oct. 9 to a young bear parading around the field.
The unusual sight was caught on video by Dani Elle, who was at work at the time.
“Only in churchill mb!” Elle wrote on Facebook. “Outside my work this morning, good job to conservation for keeping our town safe! This little guy has been tranquilized and sent to Polar Bear Jail.”
Conservation officers did arrive to track and tranquilize the animal.
Then, the animal was taken to a holding facility, locally known as “polar bear jail.”
“Five air conditioned cells are used during the summer and a heated holding cell is available for orphaned bear cubs,” according to the province.
August through November are high alert months in the region as the bears are living off fat reserves as they wait for the ice to form on Hudson Bay.
That’s why the move closer to town — or right into it — looking for food sources.
“The number of polar bears captured in the program is related to weather, ice conditions in the fall and the distribution of bears along the coast,” the province explained.
Global warming is the major threat to the western Hudson Bay polar bear population since increased temperature changes the sea ice, which is the preferred habitat of polar bears.
Animals that end up in polar bear jail are later released further away from people, usually by helicopter.
Most of the bears don’t return.
Let’s hope this baseball bear has its sights set on the seals, and not, shall we say, The Cubs.
Photo Dani Elle/Facebook