Polar Bear Cam Is Live!
A mass of white is spotted from afar. “I think that’s one!” Emily, a volunteer with Polar Bears International exclaimed as she pulled the binoculars away from their seemingly permanent position on her face. Buggy One slowly approached the bear and came to a stop. The engine is shut down. Stillness. An elegant polar bear lifts her head from its gentle resting position across her paw. Her nose rises to the air and wriggles as she takes in our smell. She lowers her head gently, shimmying her upper body and returning her head to the earth. The brown leaves rustle as she touches down. The willows behind her are bare.
A little ice has started to form along the edge of the water and shallow ponds. Brisk nights and bitter winds indicate the seasonal change. Fall is in full effect on the western shore of Hudson Bay.
Each year polar bears gather along the shore anxiously waiting for the bay to freeze over. No ice means no food for these great arctic predators. They must have sea ice to hunt their primary food source, ringed seals. They have been waiting and fasting without a meal since July or early August.
This is a critical time of the year for polar bears. The ice could form anywhere from mid November to early December. A few weeks can make a big difference.
It appears that the polar bears begin to have more energy as the temperatures drop. The male bears tussle, sparring and play-fighting, practicing for the spring when they must compete for a mate. When the snow falls they roll about, cleaning their fur and cooling off. Mothers and cubs wander from place to place learning important survival tactics and avoiding dangerous male bears. Eventually they venture out to test the ice, first pressing and pulsing with their upper body to see if it will break, and then tentatively walking out, wide-legged and cautious dispersing their body weight. When the ice finally covers Hudson Bay the polar bears disappear beyond the horizon and head out to their ideal habitat, the sea ice.
The polar bear migration is an extraordinary event, and you have the ability to have a front row seat! Explore.org will be streaming the migration LIVE on 4 different cameras outside the town of Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world. See for yourself what the polar bears look like, how they spend their time, and where they live. The footage is truly extraordinary.
Polar Bears International hopes that these cams will serve as a source of inspiration for people to take action and do their part to help stop climate change. The arctic serves as a temperature regulator for the planet. If we stop climate change, we subsequently will save sea ice, and if we save sea ice, we save polar bears, as well as thousands of other species and ecosystems throughout the world. Tune in. Be inspired. Create change.
*Blog post by contributing writer KT Miller of Polar Bears International