Massive taxidermy polar bear stolen in bizarre Canadian heist

The stolen bear

By Max Matza in Seattle

BBC News

Police in Canada are investigating the bizarre theft of a taxidermy polar bear weighing some 500lb (225kg) from a resort near Edmonton.

The bear, standing some 12ft (3.6m) tall, is believed to have been snatched during the cold snap in early January with temperatures near -30C (-22F).

It was reported stolen on 22 January by the operators of the Lily Lake Resort, according to police.

The public has been asked to keep an eye out for the giant stuffed bear.

The resort is located in Sturgeon County, about 30 miles (50km) north of Edmonton.

According to investigators, the resort saw a “similar occurrence” last August when two taxidermy raccoons were stolen from the property during a break-in.

The cost of all three taxidermy animals is approximately C$35,000 (£21,000; $26,000), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say.

It is unclear if the cases are linked.

The two raccoons that were stolen
Image caption,Two raccoons that were stolen during a break in over the summer

A resort worker told The Globe and Mail that the resort has 24-hour security patrols, but they were cancelled that night due to the bitter cold.

Wanda Rowe told the newspaper that the thieves cut the cables that secured the bear, and dragged it outside where they probably had a vehicle waiting.

“It 100% had to be planned,” said Ms Rowe.

Alberta RCMP Constable Kelsey Davidge described the crime as “The Heist of the Big Polar Bear”, according to the paper.

She told residents to keep a lookout, in case the thieves try to sell it online.

“That would stick out right away, if you saw that anywhere, right?” she said.

Hunting polar bears, which mostly live in Arctic regions, is legal in Canada’s northern territories.

It is strictly regulated by environmental officials, who estimate that the country is home to around 16,000 polar bears – approximately two-thirds of the global population of the species.

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