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Polar Bear Blog – The Blob

So, the world of weather and bears just keeps getting more complicated.  While El Nino and La Nina have not really messed with the bears since the 1990s, we have a new weather phenomena poking its nose into the arctic. The 'North Pacific Mode' seems to be responsible for a 'warm blob' of water in the Pacific.  This mode drives cold, wet air to eastern North America and keeps the west (and Yukon and Alaska) fairly warm and dry.  This blob is not quite as influential as an El Nino but it … Continue Reading ››
Shark Bear

Polar Bear Blog – Swimming Bears and Sea Ice

Okay, so its no Rimouski but a polar bear did show up at Hibernia drilling platform, just east of St. John's, Newfoundland.  The bear was first spotted by the supply vessel, Atlantic Merlin, with varying reports of either one or possibly two bears (mother and yearling).  These support vessels are sometimes tasked with towing icebergs away from the platform in spring. This is the southern extent of the Davis Strait bears' range, and depending how you look at it, either not too far or pretty far from the sea ice.  The ice edge is around average … Continue Reading ››
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Polar Bear Blog – Cub Season

Well, another cub season is just about wrapped up along Hudson Bay and this one seems to show positive results.  During my week at Watchee Lodge, the guides were saying that all of the family groups that they have worked with this year are twin cubs as opposed to past years where it is a bit of a mixed bag.  However, tracks of a mother with single cub passed through but a family of triplets were also tracked.  Several bears broke out of their den and headed straight out on the ice before any of … Continue Reading ››
mom-cubs

Polar Bear Blog – Polar Bear Update

Well, the jet stream dipped pretty far south again this year so this seems to bode well for Hudson Bay and Davis Strait Bears.  Mothers with cubs were reported emerging from the dens in the first week of Watchee Lodge's operations in Wapusk National Park.  There seems to be a fair amount of movement and it looks like cub season may be a week ahead of schedule... much like freezeup was this fall. Last 'bear season', we encountered a lot of mothers and cubs and most looked pretty healthy, so there is a fair bit of … Continue Reading ››
Kaktovik Cub

Polar Bear Blog – Gobama! The Importance of ANWR

Since President Obama announced expanded protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and a Protected Marine Area in Alaska, there has been a fair bit of discussion about how this affect polar bears, if at all.  I would say that those 'crowing' about this decision are absolutely right to do so. This is a very important move for Alaska's polar bears. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is extremely important for the Southern Beaufort polar bear population, especially the pregnant females - obviously critical animals for any population. The vast majority of terrestrial dens occur within … Continue Reading ››
polar bear

Polar Bear Blog – The Roaring Nineties

The 1990s were a turbulent time for Churchill's polar bears, it is really through this decade that we get a glimpse as to how drastically changing sea ice and weather patterns can affect bear populations. The 1980s are often seen as peak bear years in Churchill.  Ice conditions were favourable, especially in the late 1980s and there was some thought that the population was reaching carrying capacity by the end of that decade - that is, the seal population could not support any more bears in the area. Then, in 1990, disaster struck.  In March of that … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog and Churchill Manitoba Travel Guide

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