“We do see polar bears showing up in unusual places from time to time, and there is some concern that this could become more frequent as the Arctic warms and sea ice continues to melt,” York told The Dodo. “Polar bears, like most wildlife, have pretty amazing abilities regarding navigation. But for an animal that lives atop drifting sea ice, sometimes you have to go with the flow — literally.”
In the past, polar bears have wandered into Fort Yukon and Arctic Village in Alaska for this very reason, and in these situations the bears end up alarming people when they wander too closely into villages searching for food. In extreme cases, the bears are killed because they’re seen as a risk.
“Sadly, most of these extralimital encounters end with alarmed people and dead polar bears,” York said.
While some past cases have ended in death for the bear, this animal was lucky. Videos posted online by locals show the bear calmly walking past locals as they offered him some fish and called wildlife authorities. Upon reports of his arrival, a rescue team planned to capture and relocate the bear to his original home via helicopter.