Polar Bear Blog – Halloween Already!

Polar Bear Alert trucks are already out patrolling the community, you can see polar bear culvert traps set out along the edge of town and a helicopter patrol is planned for 1:30pm.  Its Halloween in Churchill!

The season has been flying by, hard to believe its half over and that ‘real’ season is upon us.  I have a Brazilian film crew flying in today and we’ll be heading straight out to look for bears and catch the last light of day before he even checks in!  Another Japanese crew is out and about and an independent photo tour has about five or six rental vehicles looking for bears as well.  It will be rush hour for the next two weeks…

The bears have been great so far.  Yesterday, we had some great interaction between two males at Ithaca Point. They were basically fighting over a favoured spot, digging in the ground possibly digging something up… or maybe someone left some bait there, you can never tell.  When we went to finally check, nothing was left – bears might have just been eating peat, they do that sometimes.  Doesn’t really matter, it was still a great insight into bear life.

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The ‘smaller’ male, still a large bear but a bit lean was on the spot first, digging away when a larger bear moved in.  Its never gets old to be watching a bear that you think it a ‘big male’ until a really big male strolls in and both of you end up a bit in awe.  This male came up, and pretty much enforced his will on the other bear, pushing him away from his day bed.

This is a common occurrence in ‘bear season’, a lot of polar bear politics plays out on a daily basis.  Bears often just walk up and take another bear’s spot just for the sake of it, sit down for a while and then move off.  That’s exactly what happened today.

The large male moved in and after some mouthing and light sparring he pushed the smaller male off.  Even then, the other bears stuck around, trying to display the proper etiquette to get his spot back.  He would lower his head, stress yawn while thinking about his options and then circle, almost submissively, to get back in to spar.  The larger male would kind of let him back but then push him off, apparently not wholely sold on his ‘politeness’.

The younger male had to wait for some time until the big male was finished.  He wandered around, came and checked us out, looked at the vehicles before resuming his mission to get his spot back.  It wasn’t until the older male had napped and walked away that the young buck resumed his position.  Political jousting at its finest.

Time to go though, plane arrives soon and there’s a couple hours of light left after that, should be able to find something before Halloween hijinks start up.

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