A polar bear was spotted on Saturday in the Quebec region of Canada, prompting wildlife officials to warn residents of a small town stunned by this very rare appearance. The bear – whose species has become a symbol of the dangers of global warming – was seen in the morning hours in Madeleine-Centre in the Gaspesia region, a peninsula along the south bank of the Saint Lawrence River, witnesses said. As of Saturday afternoon, officials were still trying to find the animal. “The dog was barking and I heard my partner yell, ‘There’s a bear, there’s a bear!’” said Sophie Bonneville, who lives in the town of 2,000 people located 800km (500 miles) east of Montreal. Quebec provincial police put out a tweet warning people about the bear sighting and urging them to stay indoors. Bonneville said nobody in town had ever seen a polar bear so far south, not even wildlife officials. “People thought it was a joke,” she told Agence France-Presse. “How could a bear cross the ice pack, swim and make it here? Even people on the north bank have not seen such a thing,” she said. Canada says world is watching China’s stance on Ukraine Police patrolled the region, where hiking is popular. “We went door-to-door to tell people to stay indoors,” Quebec provincial police spokesman Stephane Tremblay told Agence France-Presse. He said he had never seen a polar bear in this area, either. “With climate change, anything is possible,” said Bonneville, who managed to snap a couple of photos of the bear before it wandered off into a wooded area. “What is worrisome is, why did it come here? Was it global warming? Or was it just a mistake of nature?” she mused. In Canada, polar bears – the planet’s largest land carnivores – are listed as a “vulnerable” species. A 2020 study published in Nature Climate Change said climate change could lead to their extinction as global warming causes the gradual melting of the Arctic ice pack.