Two polar bears spotted on a runway in Utqiagvik

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UTQIAGVIK, Alaska (KTUU) - Two polar bears have been spotted on a runway in Utqiagvik around 6:30 Thursday morning. A staff member with the Department of Transportation who spotted them says, "it's all in a day's work."

Scott Babcock, a foreman at the Wiley Post Will Rogers Memorial Airport, was doing runway inspections when he turned to go back to the airport. On his return, he spotted what looked like two wolves on the runway. Driving closer, he realized they were polar bears.

Babcock explains federal law prevents them from harassing or hazing marine animals, meaning moving the bears could prove difficult. He shined a light onto the bears to see where they would go and they moved off the airfield on their own accord.

The excitement wasn't over though. Babcock says school kids would be heading out to get on buses, so he called the borough's animal control service to make them aware of the two polar bears.

Babcock says he has worked for state for around a dozen years, spotting wolves and grizzly bears, but this was the first time he had seen polar bears on the airfield.



 
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