The first person killed by a polar bear in Canada's Nunavut territory for 18 years is being hailed as a hero. Aaron Gibbons, 31, put himself between the bear and his three young children when he encountered the animal on Sentry Island, around six miles from the Hudson Bay hamlet of Arviat, the CBC reports. His uncle, Gordy Kidlapik, says Gibbons and the children were looking for Arctic tern eggs at the time. "The bear started to stalk or charge one of his children," Kidlapik says. "He told his children to run back to the boat and put himself between his children and the bear." One of the children called for help on the boat's CB radio.
Gibbons, who was unarmed, was fatally mauled by the bear. He was pronounced dead when Mounties arrived on the scene. The bear was killed by another adult in the area. Arviat residents say they are worried about the increasing number of encounters with polar bears in the area, which Kidlapik blames on tourism operators bringing people close to the animals. "Bears are losing whatever fear they have of humans. It's very different from 10 or 15 years ago," Kidlapik tells the Winnipeg Free Press. "Based on my experience and others I've talked to, bears would run away from the sound of an ATV or snowmobile. Today, bears are not doing that. They hang around. They won't run away. They'll go on the trail beside you."