Man mauled by polar bear in Canada was trying to protect his children

Family was visiting popular fishing, hunting spot

By NICOLE CHAVEZ, CNN

(CNN) - A Canadian man was killed protecting his children from a polar bear while they were visiting an island in Canada's Arctic Archipelago, police said.

Aaron Gibbons, 31, and his children were visiting Sentry Island, a popular spot for fishing and hunting in Canada's Hudson Bay, on Tuesday when the bear approached them, his family told CNN partner CBC News.

Gibbons, who lived in Nunavut, the country's northernmost territory, died after putting himself between his children and the bear, the man's cousin Eric Anoee told CBC.

"Definitely Aaron died a hero, he protected his children," Anoee said.

In a statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Gibbons was unarmed at the time of the attack.

The polar bear was shot and killed by other people who were on the island, police said.

Gibbons who was described as a devoted father and a good hunter lived with his family in the nearby community of Arviat. About 2,500 people live the area.

"It's really just incredibly sad. We're a small community and when something like this happens, it affects the whole community," said John Main, a local representative from the area.

The last deadly polar bear attack in the area was 18 years ago, CBC reported.

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