Canada's newest territory, Nunavut, has experienced increasing human population and growing resource extraction and exploration activities. Interactions between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and humans are very likely to increase in the future, and knowing where, when, and why they occur could aid in preventing these events. I examined age, sex, time of year, general location, distribution by polar bear population, community, and region of polar bears killed in defense of life and property (DLP) between 1 July 1970 and 30 June 2000. A total of 618 polar bear DLP kills were recorded. Most DLP kills (73%) were bears ≤6 years of age, of which the majority (71%) were males. Males represented 55% of all bears >6 years of age. Native camp types accounted for most (74%) DLP mortalities (settlements, 18%; industry type camps, 4%; and research related DLP kills, 4%). The difficulty in deterring bears from native camp types might be because of the type of attractants (seal [Phoca spp.] and whale [Delphinapterus leucas and Monodon monoceros] meat and blubber), which are food items for polar bears and humans alike. Good record keeping of bear–human interaction occurrences and their analyses can aid in understanding specific circumstances leading to these incidents, and possibly minimize future DLP kills.
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Vol. 17 • No. 1