Check out this cool, short video by National Geographic on the “Unicorns of the Sea”, the beautiful Narwhal. These unique animals have a tooth that grows up to 10 feet and extends from the upper jaw. New research through drone footage has discovered that the tooth is used for hunting fish in addition to other things. One of the Arctic’s most prized animals, they are quite hard to see in the wild unless you go far north!
On the surface this photo crew from National Geographic is searching out the King of the Arctic for conservation reasons. The end message states they got an “impactful” shot. Really, the only impactful thing done here was harassing a polar bear on a remote island in Franz Josef Land by flying a drone closely overhead of the bear in the name of conservation and attempt to get a stellar photo. The setting points to intentionally drawing the polar bear to the fixed cameras left on the beach as the groups shoves off shore from the beach. Well…as long as you got the shot, right?
Even the title of the video is misleading and sheds a bad light on polar bears, inferring that the bear charged the crew for no reason. Although the interaction is thrilling to the viewer when photographers approach wild animals like polar bears, especially those that have possibly had no human contact, it’s essential to treat them with respect and stay away so the interaction does not influence the behavior of the animal in any way. Not doing this is selfish and harmful to our wild ecosystems. Let’s hope most photographers follow this credo.
Enjoy this awesome short video from National Geographic with interesting facts about majestic Beluga Whales and their environment. Churchill Summer travelers are currently experiencing these magnificent animals right now in the Churchill River and Hudson Bay. We will be posting updates, photos and videos from Churchill periodically as the summer progresses. Stay tuned for all the exciting news from the “beluga capital of the world”!
Polar Bears aren’t the only species that migrate to Manitoba in huge numbers! In fact, snakes are more plentiful in the far northern province of Canada. And, most of those snakes gather in a space about the size of your living room…roughly 75,000 to be more precise!
Paul Colangelo, a National Geographic grantee, recently spent time photographing the largest snake gathering in the world in the Narcisse Snake Dens of Manitoba found in southern Manitoba.
Every spring thousands of red – sided garter snakes amass inside the unique limestone caves of the region and form “mating balls” consisting of hundreds of male snakes attempting to mate with a sole female. The female twists and moves desperately to escape the pit and thus creating these balls of motion rolling on the ground around the area. The female “is desperately trying to get out of the pit,” states Colangelo, an environmental documentary photographer.
The cluster of slithery bodies seems a “frenzy, but a closer look reveals a much finer dance,” Colangelo said in his field notes. “The small males court the larger female by rubbing her head with their chins and maintaining as much contact between their long bodies as possible.”
Interacting and photographing these oft – feared reptiles brings awareness to the species and assists in fostering more appreciation for the fascinating snakes. Colangelo even goes as far as describing the snakes as “cute”. They have “puppy-dog eyes—they just don’t blink,” he quipped.
This photo by Paul Nicklen for National Geographic gives us a rare look into life out on the pack ice for polar bears. Sparring polar bears is a common behavior in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area although it’s rare to see these majestic animals going at it out on the ice of the Hudson Bay. The western Hudson Bay polar bear population is enjoying the seal – hunting season finally and we will see them in the spring. Enjoy!