Well, finally ‘fixed’ my blog… it sort of got put on the backburner since there’s been bears all over the place for the last two weeks. Basically, around the time that the last tourists left, the bears started their annual ‘migration’ along the coast.
Each year, in early October, there’s one day that a huge wave of bears start walking along the coast, heading west towards Button Bay where some of the first ice forms and some of the first seal hunting can be found. This year, that wave showed up about three weeks late, starting around November 19th and, well, it hasn’t stopped.
Churchill has been a busy place for the last week or more, with cracker shells and polar bear alert officers run ragged keeping the town free of bears. A few still slip through the cracks as evidenced by locals waking up to polar bear prints in their yards or bears cruising through their back lane. In this post-El Nino year, bear season ended just as it began…
Today, there are still, at least, 18 bears between buggyland and Churchill with ‘wild bears’ coming in; bears that don’t seem to have encountered people and vehicles before. Lots of skittish animals around today but also a lot of ‘regulars’…. its just a lot of bears.
Right now, there are four family groups, three BIG males and a bunch of juveniles running around and still nothing but south winds. South winds mean no shore ice, no shore ice means trouble for the bears. Early this morning, a cub was killed near town, likely by a big old male lurking around ‘the hill’ near the airport.
Forecast looks like more of the same… the last time we had this ‘El Nino echo’ was in 1999 and the last bears left close to Christmas… Right now, I could see a December 18th freezeup but that might actually be wishful thinking.