“A call to action for leaders to renew their commitment to fight climate change”
April 1, 2013
No one had to look very far to find this Easter surprise. North Bay’s annual Easter parade took an unexpected turn on Sunday afternoon with the arrival of a fluffy, white star, noticeably larger than the traditional Easter rabbit.
In fact, what most people took to be a good-natured participant in a costume turned out to be a living, breathing polar bear, hundreds of miles south of Hudson’s Bay in search of food.
One resident was quoted as saying “we just thought it was a big bunny. Only later did we realize how close we came to a living polar bear.”
Evoking images of photos of polar bears wandering around Churchill, Manitoba and other Inuit communities, the bear added considerable excitement to the annual parade.
The mayor of North Bay was pleased to see that the polar bear, although looking hungrily at small spectators, had made the lengthy trek, even if the visit was unintentional. “While imported pandas are all well and good, our bears don’t need any inducement to entertainment the public.”
Many residents were skeptical that it was a real bear. Fortunately, some members of the North Bay Field and Stream Naturalists, a local naturalist club were on hand to identify the unwitting participant as an actual polar bear. “Stand back, stand back,” they began to shout to little effect as the crowd wildly cheered the arrival of the bear just behind the North Bay Boy Scout troop.
However, the polar bear decided to relieve itself before the always popular “Ladies in Bonnets” contingent riding on their trademark tandem bicycles, passed before the panel of judges. Another clue was that the rabbits, generously supplied by the local pet store for the “Hop along Float” were mysteriously absent from the float, resulting in disappointment and dismay. A lone rabbit, sitting unusually still, was finally located behind a shredded bale of hay on “Hop along Float” more than one hour after the parade ended.
“I just feel sorry for the poor little fellers”, admitted the pet store owner. “I just hope it was quick and all.”
Echoing the pet store owners concern, several local naturalists observed that they believe this was no accident and similar visits are likely in the future. “Climate change is driving polar bears further and further inland, according to the science I have read,” said the chairperson of the North Bay Field and Stream Naturalists. She added that this was “a call to action for leaders across the world to renew their commitment to fight climate change.”
Once it became apparent that the bear was something other than a person in costume, local police reluctantly stepped in, on the off chance that the bear did in fact pose a threat to the crowd. “I’ve seen a lot of things in my days and I’ve attended a lot of parades but nothing prepared me for coming nose to nose with a real polar bear” said one senior police officer.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) said that a team of MNR staff would be paid triple-time in order to secure the area and ensure that adequate precautions would be taken to ensure the well-being and rehabilitation of the bear.
Despite the unexpected turn of events at this year’s parade most spectators enjoyed it as much as ever. However, one young girl who graciously supplied her pet rabbit “Fluffy” for the “Hop along Float” wanted to know if her brother’s prediction that she would never see Fluffy again was true.
She went on to say “my brother Billy is always joking. Fluffy will come back, won’t he?”
MNR staff were unavailable for comment on the whereabouts of Fluffy.