Here are the recent polar bear statistics from Manitoba Conservation in Churchill. Finally there is respite from the polar bear saturation around town. Polar bears are all moving to the Hudson Bay ice and it looks as if soon there will be little threat around the community. Great to know friends and folks in Churchill can breathe a sigh of relief.
With the Hudson Bay ice finally locked onto shore, Churchill’s polar bear population will be moving out to hunt seals. Here are some end of the season photo’s to send them off. These images by local photographer Katie de Meulles are tremendous and really capture the essence of this unusually late polar bear season. Enjoy!
Polar bears on the Churchill tundra. Katie de Meulles photo.
magical light on an adult polar bear. Katie de Meulles photo.
Resting polar bear waiting for the ice to return on the Hudson Bay., Katie de Meulles photo.
Red fox searching the tundra for a meal. Katie de Meulles photo.
Polar bear tracks heading across the snow covered tundra. Katie de Meulles photo.
Polar bear sow and cub venture across the snowy tundra in Churchill. Katie de Meulles photo.
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.
Polar bears sparring in the Churchill wildlife management Area. Brad Josephs photo.
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.
Sparring bears captured up close with a telephoto lens. Brad Josephs photo.
Polar bears sparring in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Colby Brokvist photo.
Polar bears sparring in the willows. Kurt Johnson photo.
Two polar bears sparring near the tundra Lodge. Eric Rock photo.
Polar bear season 2014 has come to a close in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area as well as the Churchill town vicinity. Polar bears in the area have headed out on the Hudson Bay ice pack in search of seals to forage. Although the last travelers to Churchill have had sparse bear sightings at best, the situation for the bears is ideal.
Overall this season has been extraordinary when it comes to the health of the polar bears and the number of sows and cubs in the area. The weather has been very fitting for the bears and the early freeze-up has enabled the polar bears to get out on the ice and start building their fat reserves back up.
Polar bear taking roll call at a polar rover.
Here’s the link to the Conservation numbers of polar bear occurrences, fly-outs, in the compound, and releases throughout the season.
Hudson Bay ice floes collide and pack in tight. Karen Walker photo.
Here’s what a note on the Conservation Manitoba door read: “Bears were observed passing by Churchill on the ice on November 12th. Started ice release on November 14th. Completed ice release on November 16th. Most bears are now on the ice on Hudson Bay.”
Jeremy Pearson photo.
A truly memorable season is over ….looking forward to this winters’ aurora trips!
For information on this winter’s upcoming aurora borealis trips go to nathab.com!