Exhausted polar bear washed up on Isle of Mull

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Exhausted polar bear washed up on Isle of Mull

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Our Mull Officer, Dave Sexton, got the shock of his life while out on a routine wildlife survey yesterday, Wednesday 31 March.

“We rounded a headland on the west coast of the island and saw a large, white shape lying by some rocks in the distance. As we got closer, I was staggered to see that it was a polar bear. At first I felt sure it was dead, but then I realised it was still breathing. Scarily, it opened its eyes as we got next to it, but didn't show any other signs of moving. We grabbed a few photos and went off to get help.”

On his return an hour later, Dave was amazed to find that the bear had disappeared. “We couldn't find any trace of it. Luckily we have the photos, or I doubt that anyone would believe us. Having spent many years protecting threatened wildlife, I just hope this polar bear is going to be ok.”

Islanders are now searching for the missing bear, which is thought to have drifted across to the island on an ice floe. The nearest polar bear populations are found on Greenland and on the Svalbard archipelago, midway between Norway and the North Pole. In recent years other visitors to Mull from the high Arctic have included a bearded seal and two northern bottle-nosed whales.

Scientists believe the colder winter and lower than average sea temperatures this year may have allowed the ice floe to remain frozen for longer, thereby assisting the polar bear's passage.

This is believed to be the first time a live wild polar bear has been observed in UK territorial waters since before the last Ice Age. However, bear bones found in the famous prehistoric caves at Inchnadamph in Sutherland are believed to be from a polar bear.

The coastguard, police and Arctic marine mammal experts are now searching for the animal. The public have been warned not to approach the bear if they see it, as it may be hungry after its long journey.

  • Polar bears are inherently dangerous to humans, hungry or not. Never approach such an animal and if sighted beat a hasty retreat. Keep protected in a building or automobile. Everyone in the area of Mull had better keep their chidren inside until the whereabouts of the animal are known.

  • Wonderful made me laugh.......Well done to all concerned!!!!LOL

  • very funny, what a great "story" and well done RSPB for having a sense of humour:)) (I mean "the" RSPB and not Dave/Debby etc!!)

  • Nice try Mr. Sexton! But I know you have more sense than to get that close to a polar bear.....even an 'exhausted one'! I think I saw a pig flying in your direction.

  • Well I am still not sure if this is a joke or not as I came across this story on the RSPB news website and strange things have been happening with the climate changes.


  • I think you're more likely to see a polar bear on Mull than a Sexton - we've never seen one of these intelligent, secretive animals on any of our visits to the island but are falling over polar bears!!!!

  • Aprils Fools......You got yourself on RSPB homepage though Dave, well done! :-D

  • What a great April fool. you will have to do the pictures a bit better next time. You had me going for a while at first though

  • Dave - do the eagles exist or are they another of your porkies!!!!!

    You had me going for a few minutes - very good! Up there with Panorama's spaghetti (for those old enough to remember!)

  • You mean...... its not true.!!??  I had a spare cat basket and a saucer of warm milk already here.


  • Ah I'd believe anything Dave told me, he has such an honest face!  :)

  • Mr Sexton, I always said I'd get you a pint if I saw you in the Mishnish but I've changed my mind now! ;-) I can't believe I fell for this and unlike Emma I did get upset as I didn't think about the date, I could only check it on my Blackberry so couldn't see the fact the Polar Bear was photoshopped on. Oh Dear!

  • LOL, love it!  So glad I looked at today's date before I started crying :)

  • Nice one ............. for the day !

  • Photoshop is a wonderful invention....

    thanks, that made me laugh!