A sleeping bear on the rocks by the water

Photo: Dave Allcorn / Polar Bears International

Week Two in Churchill

By Alysa McCall, Director of Conservation Outreach and Staff Scientist



25 Oct 2021

It’s wonderful to be back in Churchill and with the polars bears. As we head into our second week of bear season, temperatures are starting to drop. We’ve experienced several snow flurries and woke to a glittery frosty morning yesterday. Still, conditions are warmer than usual for this time of year, with no snow on the ground and not a hint of ice in the bay, underscoring the urgent need for solid progress at the COP26 climate talks.

Last week, we were treated to the sight of a mother bear nursing her cub on the tundra, a rare and special moment for all of us. We’ve also seen bears hanging out in the willows and a mom and cub eating blueberries–and then rolling in them! Although berries don’t meet a polar bear’s nutritional needs, they make a nice snack and no doubt help the bears pass the time as they wait for the sea ice to return. 

A polar bear with blueberry juice on its fur

Photo: Kieran McIver / Polar Bears International

This cub and its mother were eating, and clearly rolling in, blueberries

We have an exciting week ahead. Here’s how you can join in: 

  • Immerse yourself in the polar bears’ world by watching our live Polar Bear Cams, With more bears arriving daily and a nip in the air, watch for moms, cubs, young bears, and big males as they wait for the sea ice to return.

  • We’ve scheduled a free Tundra Connections webcast, Ice Bears Around the Arctic, on Tuesday, October 26th, at 1:00 pm Central. Sign up for a reminder and watch here at the appropriate time.

  • We’ve also planned a live chat, Arctic Innovations, on Thursday, October 28th at 11:00 am Central. Join the chat here and bring your questions!

  • Also be sure to tune in for a special sunset concert from Polar Bear Point with renowned singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi, streamed live from a Tundra Buggy  on Wednesday, October 27th, at 3:30 p.m. Central. RSVP and watch here.

  • And don’t forget: Polar Bear Week starts October 31st and runs through November 6th! Make plans to join us, including supporting our efforts to develop ground-based radar systems to alert communities of approaching bears, keeping polars and people safe. You can donate hereor you can start your own fundraiser!

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

Two polar bears lounging in the frosty morning

Photo: Dave Allcorn / Polar Bears International

Two polar bears lounging on a frosty morning

Field Highlight

As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce conflict between polar bears and people, we’re supporting the launch of a waste management project in Churchill this fall to examine innovative ways to reduce attractants to polar bears. This is important because waste is a problem across the North. Burying is not sustainable in tundra areas and impossible in bedrock. Yet open dumps are an invitation to trouble, leading to problem bears, conflict, and increased mortality. The lessons learned here can be shared across the Arctic, helping polar bears and people coexist.

Polar bears in the tall grasses

Photo: Dave Allcorn / Polar Bears International