When a bowhead whale beaches on a remote stretch of Wrangell Island the news spreads quickly. How it spreads is a mystery since polar bears were the recipients of the good fortune, not humans. According to nature reserve rangers on the island over 230 polar bears “flocked” to the scene of the stranding for a protein-packed meal.
At first glance travelers on a passing a Finnish cruise ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, thought the bear congregation was a flock of sheep though they soon realized the Arctic is not Ireland so the white furry creatures had to be opportunistic polar bears. Males, females and even mothers with cubs ventured to the kill and got a piece of the whale pie.
The cruise ship group had just made a layover and explored Wrangell, an island infamous for the last habitat of the extinct woolly mammoth.
Wrangell Island nature reserve staff have conveyed the details on the unique bear gathering to an international scientific group that monitors Alaska’s and Chukotka’s polar bear populations.
Wrangell Island lies in the Arctic Ocean between the Chukchi Sea and the East Siberian Sea.