Category Archives: Churchill Manitoba News

bear-ice-cape

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 ››
Polar Bear - Churchill Hudson Bay

Polar Bear Blog – Year in Review Pt II

In the last blog, I talked about how this year was mostly good for Churchill's bears but pretty bad for some individual bears that swam ashore early.  Today, we'll look at the rest of the world's bears... Alaska Two polar bear populations inhabit Alaska - the Southern Beaufort and the Chukchi Sea populations.  Although they are both living on the same highly variable sea ice, they seem to be reacting quite differently to changing conditions.  The Chukchi Sea population is reported in good condition with a high birth and cub survival rate.  In 2013, researchers found a … Continue Reading ››
Mother with Two Cubs

Polar Bear Blog – Year in Review

2015 is almost here so probably time for the Polar Bear Year in Review...  First off, we will cover Churchill and western Hudson Bay... Overall, it has been a decent year for Churchill's polar bears.  The breakup was a bit tricky with breakup radiating out from Churchill instead of really following the traditional drift south.  This meant that some bears ended up on shore very early while others rode the ice for a couple more weeks.  The difference in condition really showed this 'bear season', some bears looked great and others reminded me of the 'climate … Continue Reading ››
Pretty close!

Polar Bear Blog – Churchill, Kaktovik and Arviat

Kaktovik is quickly securing its place as a premium destination for polar bear photography.  As yet, it does not have the tourism infrastructure of Churchill or the variety of activities for visitors but its bear-viewing opportunities, I would say, are on par albeit quite different. In Churchill, the bears gather each fall, gradually building in numbers as they await the return of the ice and early season seal hunting.  Although they forage through the summer, there is a real sense of 'anticipation' in the bears and a wide variety of behaviours as they wait for the … Continue Reading ››
Fence bear

Polar Bear Blog – Orcas, Geese and Aurora

Just back from a locations scouting trip to Churchill, the fall colours are peaking - reds, yellows, orange and now the deep blues of 'magic hour' light that comes with October. Just a great time of year up there, although almost every time of year is pretty 'great'. A fair bit has happened since my last blog. The almost annual visit of Orcas caused quite a stir with folks driving down to the coast and a few brave/crazy souls heading out on zodiacs to photograph and cruise with the pod. The SeaNorth crew got within 10' … Continue Reading ››
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Polar Bear Blog – Polar Bear News (And What It Means)

Figured I would do a quick roundup of some of the polar bear headlines this summer and take a shot at figuring them out... Large Waves Recorded in Polar Bear Habitat Sixteen foot waves have been recorded in the Beaufort Sea in a part of the arctic that was previously covered by multi-year ice.  This ice sheet broke apart in 2012 after an arctic cyclone dispersed ice that was already pressure fractured.  Again, this event can be evidence of climate change or of natural cycles. What does this mean for bears?  Well, bears don't really like multi-year ice … Continue Reading ››