Canadian authorities are probing a peculiar crime involving the theft of a massive 500-pound taxidermy polar bear, standing 12 feet tall, from the Lily Lake Resort near Edmonton. The heist is believed to have occurred during a frigid spell in early January, with temperatures plummeting to -30 °C. The operators of the resort reported the disappearance of the bear on January 22, prompting a public appeal to be vigilant for the stolen wildlife display.
Situated 30 miles north of Edmonton in Sturgeon County, the resort faced a similar incident in August, where two taxidermy raccoons were stolen during a break-in. The combined value of the three stolen taxidermy animals is estimated at approximately C$35,000. Despite the resort having 24-hour security patrols, they were reportedly cancelled on the night of the theft due to the extreme cold.
Wanda Rowe, a resort worker, described the meticulous nature of the crime, highlighting that the thieves severed cables securing the bear before dragging it outside, likely with a waiting vehicle. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) dubbed the incident “The Heist of the Big Polar Bear,” emphasising the premeditated nature of the act.
Constable Kelsey Davidge from the Alberta RCMP urged residents to be on the lookout, especially online, as the thieves might attempt to sell the distinctive stolen item. The rarity and size of the stolen taxidermy bear make it easily recognisable if offered for sale.
While polar bear hunting is legal in Canada’s northern territories, it is strictly regulated by environmental officials. Approximately 16,000 polar bears, constituting two-thirds of the global population of the species, are estimated to inhabit Canada’s Arctic regions. The bizarre theft raises questions about the motives behind such a meticulously planned crime and the potential challenges of recovering the stolen taxidermy bear.