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Polar bear roaming Manitoba First Nation for days captured

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A polar bear roaming a remote Manitoba community has been captured after spending several days in the area.

The bear was first spotted wandering through Shamattawa First Nation on Friday, causing concern for the community.

According to a Facebook post on Tuesday, school administration in the community kept the school closed while the bear was still in the area.

The First Nation confirmed to CTV News in a phone call Tuesday afternoon that the polar bear was captured.

Manitoba Conservation said officers from Churchill were searching the community by helicopter trying to locate the bear.

A culvert trap was also set up in the community by Manitoba Conservation.

Shamattawa is about 350 km south of Churchill, the area where the bears are usually spotted.

Andrew Derocher, a polar bear researcher and professor at the University of Alberta, said while uncommon, it isn't unusual for polar bears to travel that far.

"It's not where we would normally expect to find them, but in the realm of where polar bears are apt to be. It's certainly not sort of like extremely unusual."

Derocher noted the polar bear probably in the community looking for a snack.

"Polar bears at this time of year in particular are quite food motivated," he said. "They've been on lab now for several months and some individuals are starting to lose body condition."

On Tuesday afternoon, Manitoba Conservation said it managed to tranquillize the bear and transport it back to the Hudson Bay Coast by helicopter. It has since been released.

Manitoba Conservation said it was a large adult weighing around 250 kg.

According to Derocher, the outcome is ideal as bears are often shot in situations where they enter towns.

"That's not a usual outcome, so that's kind of a happy ending for this bear, so far, anyway. As long as it doesn't get into trouble somewhere else," Derocher said.

Shamattawa, a fly-in community for most of the year, is around 750 km northeast of Winnipeg. 

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