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There could be more than one polar bear on Bonavista Peninsula

Brandon Collins shot this photo near Melrose.
Brandon Collins shot this photo near Melrose.

BONAVISTA — Brandon Collins has been shooting wildlife photography for about two years, and says that it's always been his dream to shoot photos of polar bears. 

Bears have been spotted both in Melrose, bottom right, and Newman's Cove, top left.

He got the chance to fulfill that dream on Sunday, April 2, and again, on Monday, April 3.

"This was on my bucket list," said Collins.  "I wanted to go to Hudson's Bay , were you can do the polar bear watch.  I wanted to that, but now gee – I don't have to do that."

Collins shot his first photographs on Sunday, where he claims a mother bear and her cub were wandering near Newman's Cove, just outside the Town of Bonavista.

As those photos were making their rounds on social media Monday morning, Brandon got a call from a friend who tipped him off to a bear that was spotted in Melrose, about a 20-minute drive from Sunday's bear sighting.

Collins, not wanting to miss a second 'once-in-a-life-time' opportunity, jumped in his vehicle and made the five-minute drive from his home in Catalina.

He was not disappointed.

There in Melrose, was a large polar bear; one that Collins says was a not one of the bears he spotted Sunday.

"This guy is much bigger.  This is a male by himself, this guy is about eight or nine hundred pounds or more.  He's a big bear," Collins told TC Media.

Though bear photography must take courage, Collins is careful to stay a safe distance from the animals.  He uses a 250 mm lens, which means he can shoot a bear's portrait from a distance of between 200 and 300 feet away – which is plenty close.

"I'm not getting anyway near the bear. If they start getting closer I start backing up."

Collins is not the only person to have seen the bears around Bonavista.

Several photographs of the animals have been shared over social media, and many people are going out of their way to get a glimpse of the animals.

"In Melrose today, it got to the point where traffic was jammed both ways," said Collins.

Collins shot a photo of a young bear in near Newman's Cove. He believes it to be a young cub


Bonavista RCMP, in a press release Monday afternoon, said that they received numerous reports of sightings of polar bears in the area over the past three days, and have found bear tracks in the area.

They ask that people stay far away from the animals and report any sightings.

The province’s Fisheries and Wildlife department also issued a public advisory about polar bears in the Bonavista area, and warning people to stay away from the animals.

Conservation officers are currently monitoring the movement of at least one animal.

Fisheries and Wildlife, when contacted by TC Media, could not confirm how many animals were in the area, but hope to have more information later tomorrow morning.

When asked if the animals would be tranquilized and removed, officials from the department said they would also confirm that tomorrow.

This is not the first polar bear sighting in the province this year.

Just last week a bear was spotted in Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay.

'Playful Polar bear makes visit to Wesleyville' 

Collins shot this photo in Melrose.



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