Polar bear under the Tundra Lodge. Moira Le Patourel photo.
This is the time when the polar bear season is a double-edged sword in that the polar bear numbers are building and so is the ice that could allow them to disperse overnight. However, this time is also one to rejoice in with the uncanny wildlife around the tundra.
Nt Hab’s Brad Joseph’s group had some incredible wildlife sightings during their trip. A first-year male great gray owl at Gordon point was a memorable sighting. Out around the Tundra Lodge, there were eight polar bears paired off and sparring in optimal 0-degree weather. This is the first report this season of numerous bears around the lodge actively engaged in mock fights. Pretty exciting and a reunion of sorts for the travelers on rovers and at the lodge!
After enjoying a sunset across the Churchill River at the flats just northwest of town, the group also was blessed with aurora borealis on their second night in Churchill. Nearly as spectacular to this particular group of travelers was the fantastic newly painted murals around town by the Sea Walls project. The murals brighten up the town, which can start to become grey this time of year, as much in the daytime as northern lights do at night.
Two other pretty awesome sights for this group were seeing a good size caribou herd of around a 100 animals south of Churchill. Tracks covered the ground all over the area. Some of those tracks were discovered to be from a Wolverine making a cameo appearance. Some longtime locals reported having not seen one for 20 years or more.
Polar bear males sparring on the tundra. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Moira Le Patourel’s group enjoyed good weather for the duration of their trip with a snowy backdrop and a mix of a few overcast days and a few with incredible sun and one extreme cold weather day (-21 degrees Celsius) Numerous polar bear sightings surely made up for the cold, including a mother with two cubs of the year, a mother with one cub of the year, as well as many adult males.
Churchill received a makeover recently and the murals that now adorn some formerly vacant walls are nothing less than breathtaking. Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is the official sponsor and organizer for these magnificent art works. The foundation seeks to convey ocean conservation to communities around the world through art work murals. Over 200 international contemporary artists have created close to 300 murals in 12 countries since 2014.
Sea Walls is seeking, through their public art displays, to educate the public in a non-confrontational manner and educate all on the impacts of climate change, plastics pollution, overfishing, development and many other types of pollution taking a toll on our seas planet – wide. Through the visual stories portrayed in these murals more people will tend to ask more questions and feel compelled to get involved in protection processes. Churchill is known for the magnificent polar bears that migrate to its shores though the ocean in the form of the Hudson Bay is habitat for many marine wildlife species!
Artists selected for the murals volunteer their time and talents to the noble cause of protecting our life – giving oceans. Research material is provided prior to the project to help artists familiarize themselves with issues threatening the animals in the particular marine environment. The talent these artists have continues to reach high levels and attracts more and more attention to the cause of conservation of our planet!
Churchill Sea Walls mural by artist Charlie Johnston. Tre Packard photo.
Churchill Sea Walls mural by artist Kelsey Eliasson. Tre Packard photo.
Churchill Sea Walls mural by artist Li Hill. Tre Packard photo.
Churchill Sea Walls mural by artist Kal Barteski. Tre Packard photo.
Churchill Sea Walls mural by artist Case Maclaim. Tr Packard photo.