Polar Bears, Canada
A young polar bear in November, Churchill, Manitoba.
Canada Map | More Churchill Polar Bear Information | Northern Canada Travel Guide
On the frequently frozen shores of Hudson Bay in Canada's Manitoba province, small, unattractive and chilly Churchill is the best place on earth to see polar bears, whether out on the icy
tundra in a Tundra Buggy, or rooting around Churchill's garbage
cans lit only by the northern lights.
Other creatures that make this desolate land their home are white foxes, arctic hares, lemmings, owls,
falcons, whales, seals and affluent eco-tourists.
The Hudson Bay part of Manitoba is a bleak and desolate place.
Polar bear viewing happens from September to December (if the ice forms late) after the bears have been hibernating/ fasting for 6 months and before the ice forms firmly on Hudson Bay. Once that happens they live mainly on the ice, eat seals for meals and are more difficult to find.
An optimistic welcome sign against a typically unattractive Churchill town view.
Apart from polar bears Churchill offers other wildlife watching possibilities with Beluga whales (the small, cute, white ones) coming in as #2 attraction from June - August, birds (June-August) and aurora borealis (northern lights January - March) a distant third and fourth since they are hardly unique to Churchill and many tourists would choose a more scenic and easily accessible destination.
Churchill's main street in late September, with temperatures just above 0C, 32F.
The only reasons there is a settlement in this desolate area of Canada is to handle
grain shipments in the summer and to maintain a now defunct Canadian military base.
Polar bear traps, obviously not in use at this time.
Some bears, especially adolescents, take to hanging around town looking for easy meat so local authorities need to get them off the streets, and these traps are the solution.
The traps work by towing them to a bear's cruising ground, attaching some kind of meat-soaked rag or dead chicken to the inside of the grille, opening the trap door on the left side, waiting for the hairy beastie to climb inside and then releasing the door - best done from a distance.
Bears collected in this way are then confined to a bear jail until wildlife experts decide it's the optimum time to release them when ice has formed on the bay and seal's for breakfast.
Pricey but convenient mobile tourist accommodation (Tundra Lodge) on the shores of Hudson Bay.
A Tundra Buggy loaded for bear.
Inside a typical Tundra Buggy.
Et voila! The bear essential. More Polar bear pictures - and other wildlife - on the next page.
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© Daniel Nash II et famille