Category Archives: Western Arctic

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 ››

Polar Bear Blog – Polar Bear Update

Well, the jet stream dipped pretty far south again this year so this seems to bode well for Hudson Bay and Davis Strait Bears.  Mothers with cubs were reported emerging from the dens in the first week of Watchee Lodge's operations in Wapusk National Park.  There seems to be a fair amount of movement and it looks like cub season may be a week ahead of schedule... much like freezeup was this fall. Last 'bear season', we encountered a lot of mothers and cubs and most looked pretty healthy, so there is a fair bit of … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Gobama! The Importance of ANWR

Since President Obama announced expanded protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and a Protected Marine Area in Alaska, there has been a fair bit of discussion about how this affect polar bears, if at all.  I would say that those 'crowing' about this decision are absolutely right to do so. This is a very important move for Alaska's polar bears. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is extremely important for the Southern Beaufort polar bear population, especially the pregnant females - obviously critical animals for any population. The vast majority of terrestrial dens occur within … Continue Reading ››

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 ››

Polar Bear Blog – About A Pingo

Still out there… somewhere. Here’s a story about how everything began in the meantime… From ‘Across Time and Tundra’, a history of the Inuvialuit People… Long ago, the Inuvialuit lands were not as they are today. Instead of countless rivers and lakes, the land was barren and mountainous, and game was very scarce. But the pingo or ice hill called Ibyuk, which today stands overlooking the town of Tuktoyaktuk, was already in existence, and on its top lived an Inuvialuit hunter and his wife and son. This son was the spirit of the raven. And with … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Seal Dens and Sea Ice

Well, we ended up back in town a bit inadvertantly today. Camped about 60 miles out at Ivitallik on Prince Albert Sound, we woke up to blue skies and no wind. The no wind part being especially exciting. So, we went hunting for polar bear tracks. My guide, Roland Notaina, is really good – we must have navigated over 100 miles of sea ice today – the latter half in whiteout conditions. There is a small chain of four islands at the mouth of Prince Albert Sound, basically four tumbled ridges of rock amidst even more … Continue Reading ››