11/13/2010 1:35:46 PM
A Day Filled with Polar Bears
I've spent the past week on the Tundra Buggies®, watching wildlife and talking with the guests about the day. In my role as a Field Ambassador, I give informal presentations on what PBI is all about, the partnership with zoos, and the urgency to take action now to keep the bears around for years to come.
I have hands on biofacts like skull and claw replicas and a piece of polar bear fur to discuss the adaptations these amazing creatures have made over the years. One lucky guest even gets to be a "victim"— I mean a "seal"— for a demonstration! I challenge each guest to go home and not only show photos of their trip, but share the emotion felt when seeing the bears in the wild. This passion will communicate the urgency to make changes in our lives to help the bears.
Today was incredible! A mom with a cub came over to the buggy and laid down close by. This particular cub was not a cub of the year (COY), it would be turning two soon and will head out on his own soon after the new year. The cub got up and walked away and mom kept making a chuffing sound to get him to come back! After a while mom started sniffing the air. She stood up on her hind legs—and we saw a bear coming her way. She vocalized again and they both quickly headed out away from the other bear.
Throughout the day we also saw a mom with two cubs, a mom with a COY, and five big males taking turns sparring in a bed of kelp! Obviously none of the moms with kids were anywhere near any of the sparring action.
I also finally had a chance to see Dancer, an older male bear with distinguishing scarring on his face who has been seen in the Hudson Bay area for years. Looking at him you could really appreciate the size of those giant paws as well as all of the fur covering the pad of his feet. Dancer gets his name from the fact that he not only stands up, but then walks on his hind legs over to the buggy!
Photo Credits: Top & Middle, ©Shari Burnett; Bottom, ©Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures.