I was in Hudson Bay area of Churchill, Manitoba- the Polar Bear Capitol of
Canada in late October 2006.
We were taken out in to the Tundra in a special Tundra buggy ( an old
school bus fitted out with tractor wheels to take the rough ride on the
Arctic tundra )
On the shores of the Sub Arctic Tundra of Hudson Bay- the Polar Bears wait
listlessly for the ice to form, in early November ,to use it as platform,
to ride out the open waters to hunt for seals- their main food source.
People from all over the world come to Churchill, Manitoba for this annual
event if the Polar Bears waiting for Ice ..
These are two young juvenile bears- about 3 yrs old, coming out of
‘walking hibernation ‘ from early April to early November .
They don’t go to a deep winter sleep ( nov – april ) like the black bears
and Grizzly bears .
Polar bears- are half asleep, half awake, wondering around like zombies ,
eating sea weeds, spring vegetation, rodents, caribou calves , sea gulls etc
. for protein .
The Polar Bears have the opposite time frame for hibernation from that of
Black and Grizzly Bears
These two juveniles- one is asleep on a bed of sea weeds, and the other-
bored out of its skull, so he nags the other ‘wanna fight ? ”
These play fights are a preparation for the real thing- when they would
fight with determined ferocity, for the female to mate with .
We watched this ‘play fight ‘ go on for an hour or so, drinking hot
chocolate. Coffee, tea, and eating cookies and muffins in the warm comfort
of the Tundra Buggy .
The sad thing now is that with Climate Change- these bears have to go
hungry for a longer time, as the ice thins out early forcing them to swim
lot longer in search of seals ,and the ice platforms forms late ,
extending their ‘ walking hibernation ‘ period .
In one generation, my grandkids will see Polar Bears, only in their
grandmother’s photo album ….
My advice to you all- =if you want to see live Polar Bears in the wild,
come to Churchill now, or see them in a zoo .
It is usually the American tourists that fill the 3 day Via Rail
Sam- you folks really have to see this to believe it – it is wonderful .
I went again, two yrs later, in July 2008, to see the Arctic in Bloom,
Beluga Whales and Bears ( Bears, Belugas and Blooms ) and saw polar bears
again – they broke into the local coffee shop early am, and had to be chased
out of town .
They are hungry- and the smell of fresh baking from the bakery was too much
for them at 5 am !
There is a special 911 alarm for polar bear sightings in the town of
Churchill- and the bakery was within walking distance of our Polar Inn !
When the alarm goes off, it wakes up the whole town, so people can stay
No one walks around alone after dark in Churchill- but, one day, I took a
chance and went out at night to see the Northern Lights !, and walked alone
in the afternoon to the National Park to see the wild flowers and
photograph them, and to see the glacier carvings on the granite rock tops .
The Parks Canada Ranger- located at the top of the granite outcrop, armed
with his long range gun, saw me from through his binocs and later told me,
that a polar bear was walking parallel to me, down in the Hudson Bay shore
I was on higher ground , and I had a ‘feeling ‘ that a bear was down
below, and somehow, there was No Fear in me at all …
I was glad, that the bear ‘knew me ‘ and my scent is now in his DNA !!!!
The Parks Canada guy thought I was crazy !!!! and he kept watch on me, till
I returned back to town and told me ” now don’t stop to take any more
photos- just walk straight down to town’
Like hell- I stopped a dozen more times, before I reached the town, knowing
the Parks Canada Ranger was watching out for my safety !