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Polar bear broke into Alaska home for seal oil

Alaskan "polar bear patrol" member Ruby Kaleak found a polar bear snacking on a drum of seal oil inside the home of an 81-year-old woman in a small village.

By Ben Hooper
Polar bear broke into Alaska home for seal oil
A polar bear. (UPI/Shutterstock/Trance Drumer)

KAKTOVIK, Alaska, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- A "polar bear patrol" member in Alaska said she and a colleague chased a polar bear out of an 81-year-old woman's house, where it had been raiding the seal oil. Ruby Kaleak, who works part-time on the "polar bear patrol" responding to reports of bears in residential areas, said she and a colleague responded Friday to a polar bear call in the village of Kaktovik.

"They didn't say where or who," Kaleak told the Alaska Dispatch News. "I thought that one of the young boys in town was pulling a prank."

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However, the bear wranglers soon discovered a polar bear had made its way into 81-year-old Betty Brower's home and was feeding from a drum of seal oil.

"I was shocked. It was humongous," Kaleak said. "Just the neck and head was half the size of me, and I'm 5 [feet] 2 [inches]."

Kaleak said she and her colleague were able to shoo the bear away without harming the animal.

Brower, who was home alone at the time, hid from the bear and was not injured.

"She was on my mind the whole time," Kaleak said. "She's an elder. I look up to her. All of I could think of is man, I wonder how she felt."

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Susi Miller, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, told Al Jazeera America bears are attracted to the leftover whale bones, meat and blubber piled on the edge of town by village residents.

"Bears basically are learning that they can use that as an alternative food source during the open water period, when otherwise they would be fasting," said Miller, who has been tracking Alaskan polar bears for more than 20 years.

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