Female polar bear

Photo: Kieran McIver / Polar Bears International

Polar Bear Season Is Here!

By Alysa McCall, Director of Conservation Outreach and Staff Scientist



18 Oct 2021

As we begin this year’s bear season in Churchill, the weather has been unseasonably warm, with a hint of fall color remaining on the tundra.

It’s been great to reconnect with friends in the community as we set up the Polar Bear Cams and prep for our fall research and outreach. This is the first year that we've used both the Polar Bears InternationaI House and the Mars Arctic Research Center as base camps—amazing new spaces that are making our work so much easier.

We’re seeing lots of snow buntings and occasional snow geese—and polar bear sightings are starting to pick up, including  a nice view of a female bear swimming off Gordon Point. She spent a lot of time in the water before heading directly to the Tundra Buggies parked onshore. We don’t often get to see the bears swimming in the fall, so this was a real treat. She spent quite some time with the buggies before moving on to settle in some nearby willow.s Bear activity will pick up even more as temperatures drop and the bears anticipate freeze-up on Hudson Bay.

Female polar bear

Photo: Kieran McIver / Polar Bears International

Here’s what we have planned for the week ahead: 

  • The Polar Bear Cams are live, bringing the polar bear gathering into your home! As the season progresses, watch for moms and cubs cuddling, males sparring, and lone bears lumbering across a snowy tundra.

  • Our first live chat of the season will take place on Tuesday, October 19th at 1 p.m. Central. Join us for Polar Bears on the Tundra: Cam Kick-off with Ranger Mike Fitz. Watch the free chat here and come with questions!

  • We’ve also scheduled a free Tundra Connections webcast, One Bear, Two Worlds, on Thursday, October 21st, at 12:00 pm Central. Sign up here for a reminder and watch at the appropriate time.

  • Polar Bear Week is October 31st through November 6th this year—join in and plan out your engagement, including supporting our Detect and Protect Polar Bears challenge

I’ll be in touch next Monday with details about the coming week!

Churchill tundra with no snow

Photo: Kt Miller / Polar Bears International

Field Highlight

Polar Bears International continues to support the efforts of Churchill, Manitoba to become the polar bear safe community–with lessons learned that can be shared across the North. This is important in a warming Arctic, where more polar bears are spending more time onshore, increasing the likelihood of conflict with people..

Initiatives this fall include supporting consultations with grizzly-human conflict-reduction experts to assess the town’s current practices and identify potential areas for enhanced efforts. In addition, we’re supporting work with experts on effective deterrents, including bear spray and noise makers.