Woman prevents polar bear attack with mittens

Polar bear
Photo by Gudkov Andrey/Shutterstock.com

Natuk Paniyuk, 67, and her husband Mark Paniyuk, 71, were fetching water near Coral Harbour, Nunavut, when they ran into a polar bear. While many southerners may believe that polar bears are commonplace in northern Canada, Natuk was shocked to see one so close.

“I looked again and there it was standing, growling, with its mouth wide open,” she told the CBC. “I yelled and it was so close I could see the teeth.”

It became clear that the animal was stalking Natuk and her husband, so they quickly tried to figure out how to defend themselves. Mark tried to fight the bear off with his pocket knife, but the creature refused to get close enough for him to hit it. Natuk eventually threw her mittens at the polar bear, missing it completely, but distracting it enough that the couple could run away and start pelting the bear with rocks.

Eventually, the couple managed to return to their truck and retrieve their shotgun. The bear fled once Mark shot at it a couple of times, but the couple is confident it wasn’t wounded.