10/5/2015 5:15:02 PM

Inupiat Community Saves Polar Bear From Net

© Your Alaska Link

Rolan Warrior, an Inupiat guide from Kaktovik, was taking tourists to a barrier island to watch polar bears when he noticed one of the bruins caught in a net set for catching beluga whales.

Warrior, along with other member of the community, managed to get the bear to shore where USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists successfully freed it.

"From rescue to conflict reduction efforts, Northern communities play an important role in the conservation of polar bears - they are on the ground 24/7 and have important experience and perspectives passed down from generations untold," said Geoff York, Polar Bears International's Senior Director of Conservation.

The U.S. Geological Survey posted photos of the rescue on their Facebook page and described the teamwork involved. After biologists darted the bear from a helicopter, Kaktovik residents in boats kept the bear from drowning until the tranquilizers set in. They then maneuvered the bear to shore where the net could be removed.

Biologists were able to untangle the bear, check for injuries, and release it.

"It's great to see local people and scientists come together to solve a clear problem. In this time of unprecedented change, we need more collaboration across the Arctic and across groups," York said.

Read more: Alaska Dispatch News, Locals, biologists free polar bear caught in fishing net in Arctic Alaska

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