Polar Bear Blog – The Jokes On You

This could be just as good as Pat Broe’s honourary degree… Looks like there’s no polar bear cam this year, it was bad enough that it was going to start on November 10th (???) but now the swindle is complete folks… This is from the National Geographic site…

Unfortunately, we will not be able to bring you WildCam Polar Bears live this year. Our partners at Polar Bears International and Wildlife HD, who provided the live stream in the past, wanted to try something new to get the word out about the plight of the polar bears: by conducting more TV broadcasts and live interviews with the scientists. You may have read about this in the newsletter sent out on Monday November 3, 2008.

While we will all certainly miss our live bear video, Polar Bear International and Tundra Buggy Adventures are hosting two live Q&A sessions for National Geographic polar bear viewers with the experts.

They will be conducted in Tundra Buggy 1 and if we’re lucky we will get to see some polar bears live!Thank you for your dedication to WildCam polar bears. Join us for the Q&A session and interact with the people who work to keep our beloved polar bears safe!

WHHAT?!?!? Thank you for your dedication?!? I mean this sounds like something I would make up to make fun of giant corporations!!! Except better!!! It was kind of National Geographic to announce the cancellation in a November 3rd newsletter, though… that’s only a month after bear season began. Does anyone else feel like they just bought a zero interest mortgage?!? But wait folks it gets better…

Hi Everyone,

You may not have realized it, but in order to bring you live views for WildCam Polar Bears, our partners at Polar Bears International (PBI) and Tundra Buggy Adventures had to drive all over the tundra just to find polar bears to broadcast. The polar bears became so few and far between that it took hours and hours to simply find the bears to show us.

This year, our partners informed us that they did not have enough personnel or time to devote to this level of searching. (This may in part be due to the later-than-usual season.) Rather, they made the decision that the best way of helping the bears would be to devote more time to research and public outreach. While we at National Geographic are also disappointed not to be seeing the daily live views, we ourselves do not have the sophisticated equipment required to make these broadcasts possible. Broadcasting live video from the far reaches of Manitoba is not a trivial endeavor, and we’ve always depended on our partner experts for bringing those wonderful images to us. However, as a conservation program, WildCam also respects the decision our partners have made this year. Whatever will best help the polar bears is in all of our best interests.

Ooohhh the poor driver… having to work so hard driving all over the tundra to find bears. The horror, the horror…

This is a good year for Churchill’s bears (Dancer is in great condition) and should have been a great year for the polar bear cam. We have more snow than ever, there were decent bear numbers early and it is very easy to find polar bears out there, after all, Manitoba Conservation’s 2008 aerial surveys recorded the HIGHEST numbers of polar bears in the history of their research – I wonder if the online discussions will mention that.

This decision just seems like the new polar bear cam team wants to come in, gather as much HD footage as they can (while spending as little time in Churchill as possible) to sell as stock. But you’ll see the highlights folks, along with a short advertisement and website address and if you call within the next thirty minutes, you can save a bear for 60% off the retail price!!! Nice!

It is NOT a later than usual season – this is the earliest we have had snow in years!!! This is the most snow ever, this is peak polar bear photography season!!! The level of searching?!?!? The polar bears are so few and far between?!?! Hey, I’ve got an idea, how about I take Milo, my wolf-dog, out there, duct tape his paws to the wheel of Buggy One and we’ll find a polar bear in about… hmmm… a minute. Or if that doesn’t work… I just had drinks with Dennis, I don’t think he’s doing anything tomorrow. Plus, I would gladly be a relief polar bear cam driver to relieve his ‘stress’ of living on Buggy One. (Feel free to post that idea on the Nat Geo blog…)

Dennis is my friend and Dancer is on the cover of my book so, of course, I’m biased. But it should be pointed out that it was his idea to run live streaming video of Churchill’s polar bears and that Dancer was the star of it all and everyone liked it. Unfortunately, he did not realize that watching balding scientists weigh in on a community that they visit for a couple weeks a year is much more interesting, and hey, if you’re lucky, you might see a bear!!! Funny how a whisky drinking buggy driver ran a more professional show than National Geographic…

This is a tough post because I really like the idea of a Polar Bears International and I think they’re good people. When I first met up with them, I thought I would be one of their champions but now I feel like they’ve completely missed the point of Churchill, polar bears and everything up here.

So, if we’re all in a big marketing campaign now anyways, then let’s at least get back to basics: the medium is the message and the medium is Churchill’s polar bears; not scientists, not sponsors, not donations and marketing strategies…

Note: And please, don’t email me nasty vigilante emails about taping my dogs paws to the steering wheel of a monster truck, its merely literary license…

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