Category Archives: Churchill Manitoba

Polar Bear Blog – The Roaring Nineties

The 1990s were a turbulent time for Churchill's polar bears, it is really through this decade that we get a glimpse as to how drastically changing sea ice and weather patterns can affect bear populations. The 1980s are often seen as peak bear years in Churchill.  Ice conditions were favourable, especially in the late 1980s and there was some thought that the population was reaching carrying capacity by the end of that decade - that is, the seal population could not support any more bears in the area. Then, in 1990, disaster struck.  In March of that … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – New Ideas for Studying Bears

Over the past year, some pretty amazing ideas have come forward for polar bear research, a lot of these projects seem almost like science fiction actually. Polar Bear DNA Prints - World Wildlife Fund were in Norway and then Churchill last bear season taking samples from polar bear paw prints.  The snow from these prints will then be melted and DNA extracted back at the lab.  While this is a very 'young' research tool and likely provides limited results for now, it is pretty intriguing idea to study bears … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Churchill’s Polar Bears Are Okay

Well, I have been writing posts about Churchill's bears being 'okay' for a three or four years now and consequently have been labelled a 'denier' by some and misinformed by others but it turns out that, at least for now, Environment Canada agrees with me.  At recent Nunavut Wildlife Management Board meetings, Environment Canada stated that while the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population declined between 1984 and 2004, it has remained relatively stable for the last decade.  The currently accepted population estimate is 1030 bears. While Churchill's opinion and local … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – This is the End.

Well, that's all she wrote for another season, ice is packed in and the bears are gone.  Time to catch up on blogs and sleep!  The south wind arrived a couple days late and was unable to push the ice out, simply opening up a few leads and attracting a few photographers waiting for a potential seal kill that never materialized. From what I can see, I would peg freezeup as November 13th this year, a couple days early but pretty much right on time.  There were a couple more days of bears but mostly they … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Reunited

Last Monday, I was working with a film crew making a travel segment for Brazil television.  Part of the story of Churchill and bears involves polar bear traps and Manitoba Conservation's Polar Bear Alert officers.  Officers are generally annoyed with but semi-tolerate film crews.  Of course, at the same time, Churchill would not have the international attention nor the conservation budget without these doc crews so there is a bit of an 'understanding'.  Those days are probably my least favourite part of the job because we are following officers on the daily routine instead of … Continue Reading ››