Churchill is world famous for being “The Polar Bear Capitol of the World”. The Churchill Wildlife Management Area is one of the very few Polar Bear Habitats that is accessible by land and air. The last 2 weeks of October and the first 3 weeks of November are considered “Polar Bear Season”, when the numbers of bears are the highest. Because of the counter clockwise currents in Hudson Bay, the Churchill coast is the first place where ice begins to form in the fall. At this time of the year, Polar Bears congregate here, waiting for the ice so they can get back out and hunt seals. This is the time of year to observe Polar Bears, normally a solitary animal, interacting with each other. Behavior like sparring, wrestling, jostling, rolling. Self-entertainment is not unusual as they stop to play with willows or chunks of ice. Young bears can be captivating source of amusement with their comical antics. Mothers reclining to nurse their cubs, always on the lookout for any threat from larger males.
For the last few years we have been seeing Polar Bears in the summer. When the ice melts out from under them in July they begin to come ashore. The numbers are not as high as the autumn, and they are harder to find (hunkered down in the willows) but they present a beautiful picture against the purple fireweed or vibrant green tundra.
Check out our photo gallery under Mammals.