Aaron Gibbons, 31, from Arviat, Nunavut was visiting a popular hunting and fishing spot gathering eggs with his children when he spotted a polar bear that appeared to be stalking his family. Gibbons put himself in between the bear and his children, while telling them to get back into the boat.
By doing so, the children were able to get to safety, but sadly, Gibbons was killed by the bear. Gibbons' cousin, Eric Anoee, will remember him as a hero, saying:
Definitely Aaron died a hero, he protected his children. It's the right word to say right now.
Living among polar bears is nothing new for this community of 2,500, but the people are still in shock over this latest encounter. Anoee went on to say:
We are still in shock but we are resilient and we will go on and continue as a community. We're in bear country and Inuit long ago up to today have coexisted with polar bears and we have the utmost respect to these animals and it's hard sometimes but we manage.
Gibbons' uncle, Gordy Kidlapik, didn't hold back when he suggested the reasons he thinks polar bears no longer avoid human contact.
He sent out the following tweets.
To hear irngutaq - his young daughter having to call on CB radio and crying to her grandmother, my aik, immediately after the mauling...we were very helpless. To hear my aik calling out to my qangiaq, asking if he’s okay...very heart breaking. His body was brought in at 11:15— Gordy Kidlapik (@Irngutaq) July 4, 2018
Many people reached out to give condolences.