Churchill Weekly Photo – Polar Bear Feast


Polar bears in Churchill

Polar bears feasting on a beluga whale carcass in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.

This polar bear shot from Churchill photographer Alex De Vries – Magnifico shows how polar bears are evolving in a time when global warming is limiting their ability to hunt seals in the winter season on the Hudson Bay ice. Seals closer to land in summer and beluga whales have become prey when they used to have no fears of being hunted in summer. Evolution at its finest!

Churchill’s Polar Bears of August

Polar bear, two gulls and raven in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.


polar bear in Churchill

Sleepy polar bear on the Precambrian shield. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.


Polar bears and beluga whale carcass churchill, Manitoba

Three polar bears feast on a beluga whale carcass in Churchill while gulls await the scraps. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.


polar bear in Churchill

A curious polar bear surveys the area from behind a rock outcrop. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.


polar bear in Churchill

A large, healthy polar bear emerges from a nap in the rocks on the Hudson Bay shore. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.

August in Churchill can be polar bear sighting time and this year seems to be setting the bar higher than ever. The polar bears photographed by Alex De Vries – Magnifico appear quite healthy and active. In fact, a big bear was spotted in the middle of Churchill just today. It seems that the polar bears are adapting to more ice-free days and finding alternative food sources. As you can see in one photo, a group of three polar bears graze on a beluga whale carcass adding to their fat storage and subsequent energy reserves that will allow them to make it through the fall while they wait for Hudson Bay ice to form.  Summer bear sightings have increased almost every year and particularly in August, the buffer time before the Churchill polar bear season starts in October into November. Enjoy!

National Geographic Harassing Polar Bear Video

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.

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