All posts by Kels

Polar Bear Blog – Oh No There Goes Tokyo

Well, this could be an interesting year...  Bears are spread out along the coast with good sightings at Arviat, Seal River and Churchill.  For some bears, its been a banner year especially if they rode the sea ice far south into Ontario.  From all reports, its looking like a good year and hopefully this means a good cub production year as well, looks like our bears may need it. I've written about the Pacific Blob and a potential El Nino (The Little Boy) for a while now but now it looks like … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Hudson Bay Sea Ice

Sea ice is rapidly declining across the arctic and many bears are ashore for another season, up to 40% of the world's polar bears spend some time on shore through the year.  Overall, arctic sea ice is below the 30 year average but above the record lows of late.  Regionally, this means a lot of things, Russian bears as usual seem like they are in tough once again, Southern Beaufort bears could have some long swims ahead of them. On the other hand, Baffin and Hudson Bay bears are looking to have a pretty … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Holy Diver

A very interesting report has surfaced from Svalbard.  Published by Ian Stirling and Rinie Van Meurs, it records open water hunting behaviour that kind of takes things to a new level. In the late spring and summer, polar bears will hunt seals in and from the water.  Their most common open-water hunt is an 'aquatic stalk' where they swim up behind seals, sometimes diving underneath ice floes and then 'exploding' out of the water, trying to grab an unsuspecting seal. This bear quietly slid into the water about 50m (164 ft) away … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Walking Hibernationish Sort of

A recent study out of Alaska is gaining a fair bit of traction in the media, raising alarm bells that 'polar bears are not able to adapt to climate change' and the usual hub-bub.  It is a fairly comprehensive study of polar bear biology from spring to fall, measuring body temperature, locomotion and that sort of thing.  It is also a study that turns a few common polar bear facts on their head. First of all, the study suggests that 'walking hibernation' is actually not that important an adaptation for polar bears, if it exists at … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – West Baffin

Well, its been three years since my last visit but I'm back up in Pond Inlet, Nunavut; this time for a full floe edge season running a tourist camp on the sea ice. We've spent a couple days loading up qamutiks, arctic sleds towed by snowmobiles, and sending equipment out to the cache.  Tomorrow, we'll probably head out and start erecting tents and hooking things up. Pond Inlet is a community of about two thousand people set in one of the nicest locations in the arctic.  The Inlet itself separates the community from Bylot Island to … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Last Call

April and May are a busy time for polar bears. Not only is it peak seal hunting conditions but its also time for bears to, well, get busy. By age four or five, females are sexually mature and ready to mate. As they go into estrous, they appear to leave a scent trail in their footsteps allowing male polar bears to track them. Preferably, the female ‘allows’ the male to court her and they mate over several days, often find a ‘secluded’ spot for their tryst. However, there is considerable competition for mates among the males … Continue Reading ››