Why a Polar Bear Petting a Dog Wasn’t Cute at All
More than 4 million people have watched and probably had their hearts warmed by a viral video of a polar bear gently petting and sniffing a dog in Churchill, Manitoba.
Inter-species friendships, as this one appeared to be, certainly are inspiring, especially during these divisive, turbulent times. Wouldn’t it be nice if all human beings could get along just like that polar bear and dog?
Unfortunately, appearances are deceiving.
After the video was taken, a polar bear killed and ate another of the sled dogs. That bear and two others had to be confiscated by conservation officers and put in a holding facility.
The poor polar bear was just doing what came naturally: seeing a dog as a food source, not a friend. And the poor dog and his teammates had been left chained outside on owner Brian Ladoon’s property overnight, defenseless against the bear.
“That was the only day we didn’t feed the f–king bears, the only night we didn’t put anything out,” Ladoon told CBC News.
Ladoon illegally feeds the polar bears that wander into his Mile 5 Dog Sanctuary. Maybe he’s breaking the law out of kindness, but more likely it’s to keep the bears around so he can charge tourists to take pictures of them.
It’s against the law to kill, injure, possess, disturb or interfere with an endangered, threatened or reintroduced species under Manitoba’s Endangered Species and Ecosystem Act. Due to global warming, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear by 2050, according to U.S. government studies.
Ladoon Charged With ‘Everything…Under the Book’
Ladoon ignores this law — and other animal welfare laws as well. He told CBC News he’s been “charged with everything…under the book” regarding how he treats his sled dogs. Animal advocates have long decried how he leaves many of his dogs chained outside in freezing weather.
“Former hippie lothario Brian Ladoon may not be a guide, but he operates a roadside attraction where his Eskimo dog kennel attracts curious bears and cash-toting tourists,” says a description of the TV show “Polar Bear Town,” which features Ladoon, on Facebook.
Ladoon may not be a guide or polar bear expert, but Ian Stirling sure is. He spent more than 40 years studying wildlife in the Artic with Environment Canada. Stirling told CBC News the relationship between the bears and dogs on Ladoon’s property would never happen in the wild, and it shouldn’t be happening on this roadside attraction, either.
“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,” he said.
Ladoon, of course, disagrees. “It is unnatural? No. It’s a phenomenon,” he told CBC News.
No. It’s exploitation of animals. Here’s hoping that instead of encouraging more tourists to shell out bucks for photo ops at the Mile 5 Dog Sanctuary, the sad aftermath to that viral video will keep them away from this cruel roadside attraction — and the surviving chained dogs will be welcomed inside the homes of loving new owners.
In the meantime, the least Ladoon can do is provide shelter for his dogs. Please sign and share this petition urging Manitoba animal experts to make sure that he does.
Photo credit: YouTube