By Sarah Klein
A Churchill man who saved a woman from a polar bear attack last November has been honoured with Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt.
Bill Ayotte came to the aid of Erin Greene when she was attacked by a polar bear in Churchill on November 1, 2013.
Ayotte heard Greene’s screams early in the morning outside of his home. He grabbed a shovel and distracted the animal so the woman could get away. The bear ended up turning on Ayotte, causing numerous injuries before natural resource officers and other residents scared it away.
“The people of Churchill have learned to live with and respect polar bears but when he saw a young woman being attacked by a bear, Bill Ayotte reacted without hesitation and those actions saved her life,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. “He risked his own life to save a neighbour and that courage should be recognized and rewarded.”
Gift presentations were also made to the seven-member Polar Bear Alert team of natural resource officers, Churchill resident Didier Foubert-Allen, who helped with the rescue efforts, and Greene, who was mauled by the bear.