This time-lapse view from inside the Aurora Pod in Churchill was filmed by Natural Habitat guide Justin Gibson…pre – blizzard of course. Once the snow and wind stops we hope to see more amazing footage and photos from the site of the pod out on the Hudson Bay coast. With one of the most emphatic blizzards ever to hit Churchill still happening, the magical aurora borealis have obviously been obscured for the past few nights. This unique viewing and warming structure allows photographers to be on – site in an area that is remote and situated perfectly for prime northern lights activity. Stay tuned for when the snow stops and the lights come out again!
Polar bear season in Churchill is coming soon, actually just a few short weeks! Thousands of travelers will make the trek to Churchill over a six – week period to witness, up close and personal, one of natures most amazing spectacles, the gathering of polar bears along the Hudson Bay coast. This annual migration of sorts is accessible via the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) on polar rovers supplied by Great White Bear Tours exclusively for Natural Habitat Adventures. This could be the time to experience the the majestic north!
Two orphaned polar bear cubs were discovered in the Kaskatamagan Wildlife Management Area near York Factory on the southeastern Hudson Bay coast. After an extensive search failed to locate the mother, Manitoba Conservation decided to relocate the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. The pair were 10 months old in early fall when they were moved to the zoo and they join two cubs relocated from the Churchill area in late October.
Polar bear cubs chance of survival is nearly impossible under the age of two. Bear cubs stay with their mothers for two full winters in order to learn skills such as hunting out on the pack ice.
Recent discoveries of wolves preying on polar bears in the Kaskatamagan area provoke thought on the mother’s disappearance. Although there’s no evidence of adult polar bears being taken by wolves, there have been documented occurrences of cubs being lured away and killed by wolves. This is pretty incredible news since polar bears have been perennial kings of the food chain. Further news on this issue will be worth watching.
Common procedure in relocating polar bear cubs to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the zoo in Winnipeg calls for a medical exam and a 30 – day quarantine period in which the bears are isolated from public or media interaction.
Once in Winnipeg, the cubs will go through a 30-day quarantine during which they will be kept isolated from the public and media.
In late October two 11 – month old male polar bear cubs came to the zoo after a civilian in Churchill accidentally shot the cubs mother with a cracker shell. Cracker shells are used to scare bears away from the area though this one struck the mother causing heavy blood loss and eventually death. Manitoba Conservation decided it was the best scenario form the bears to spend their lives in the zoo to insure their survival.
“Polar bears at this age (11 months) need to stay with their mothers for at least the first two winters to learn how to hunt and to avoid attacks by other, larger polar bears,” the province said in a news release.”Polar bear experts have advised that cubs of this age do not have any chance of survival if left on their own.”
October and November, during polar bear season in Churchill, are the best months to see polar bears squaring off in mock fights. Churchillian’s know that nearly every month is polar bear season and really never let their guard down. During true polar bear season one of the main attractions is sparring usually by adult or sub-adult male polar bears preparing for the long winter on the Hudson Bay ice.
When polar bears venture onto the ice in the Hudson Bay come late November they are prepared for potential confrontations with other bears over territory dominance of mating disputes. Sparring sessions in the Churchill wildlife Management Area and around the Hudson Bay Coast play an integral part in polar bear interactions and communication all year round. A dominance and respect is established through these fights and on the whole most bears know when to stop before serious injury is inflicted. There is also reason to believe the bears use the mock fights as a way to keep fit and alert for the long seal hunting season out on the pack ice.
The fight sessions are incredible to witness in person on the tundra in the Churchill wildlife Management Area.