DOT worker bears witness to rare sight
"Well, it's just another day here at the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport," said DOT foreman Scott Babcock, while capturing a video of two polar bears scurrying around the runway at the Utqiagvik airport.
Babcock shared the video on Facebook, which caught a lot of attention after it was shared by the Alaska Department of Transportation.
DOT joked about "'bearly' being able to contain themselves with excitement Thursday morning" but then stressed they do take wildlife on the runways seriously.
Babcock said he's one of the "airfield maintenance guys" who does everything from snow removal to firefighting to animal control. He said he's seen bears before, but these were the first bears he's seen on the airfield.
"Polar bears, being marine mammals, we aren’t allowed to haze them, so I just watched," he said. "Fortunately, these two ran off to wherever they ran off to."
In October, Babcock encountered a bearded seal on the runway. He said caribou come and go, but to see bears at the airport is rare.
"I think they are a cool animal... A person learns to look both ways when stepping outside here," he said.
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