These videos were taken during our second to last polar bear outing. Prior to this day, it was 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit which was too warm for the ice to form and move to the shore of The Hudson Bay. Polar bears rely on this ice so they can go out and hunt. Thankfully, as we were leaving Churchill a cold storm moved in. Locals were enthusiastic and hopeful that this storm would finally bring the ice to shore so the bears could eat. The bear’s hunting season is getting shorter each year – the ice shelf forming later and breaking up an average of 2-3 weeks earlier than it used to.
The first video shows a polar bear seemingly walking with a destination in mind, but he stops for a playful time out before continuing on his way.
The next video shows a bear shielding himself during a windstorm and 19 degrees below temperatures!
We only saw one mother bear with a cub during our trip. And days when we saw 8 bears, we should have seen 20-30 bears according to Dr. Jonkel (“Chuck”) who has been leading this trip for 25 years. Chuck made sure we understood this is not a good sign. It’s not only further evidence that the polar bear population is decreasing, but indicates that reproduction is decreasing as well.
So, what can we do? That’s coming next!