Two male polar bears spar on the snowy tundra

Photo: Kt Miller/Polar Bears International

Wrapping Up Polar Bear Season

By Alysa McCall, Director of Conservation Outreach and Staff Scientist



08 Nov 2021

This is our last week in Churchill for this year’s bear season, and it’s been great to connect with friends old and new:  two-legged and four-legged, furry and parka-clad. 

As we begin to wind down, we’re finally experiencing cold weather and snow, with wind whipping across the tundra and rattling our roving broadcast studio. But Hudson Bay is still ice-free, a troubling sign of a warming Arctic. Watching the bears wait for freeze-up after months of fasting on land underscores the urgency of meaningful action at the COP26 climate talks—for polar bears and for all of us.

With the snow has come an increase in bear activity, including daily sparring between adult male bears and our first sighting of a mom with a cub-of-the-year. We were also treated to the sight of an Arctic fox running around the Tundra Buggy Lodge and incredible displays of northern lights.

Green bands of northern lights ripple across the night sky.

Photo: Geoff York/Polar Bears International

Our team has stayed busy throughout the season, from airing our Tundra Connections webcasts to operating our Polar Bear Cams and talking with reporters from around the globe. We conducted field research, too, including testing new tracking devices and developing “Detect and Protect” technology to alert communities of approaching bears—work made possible thanks to our partners and generous donors. 

In fact, this community raised over $98,000 toward our $150,000 goal on the Detect and Protect project, a heartwarming show of support that will have an incredible impact on the work we do in the North. We can’t thank you enough for your involvement in our mission. 

Researchers mount a "Detect and Protect" radar system in Churchill.

Photo: Kieran McIver

Researchers mount a "Detect and Protect" radar system on the tundra. Our team is testing four types of radar this fall to see if the technology can be used to alert communities to approaching bears, keeping polar bears and people safe.

Here’s what we have planned for our final week on the tundra: 

  • We’ll continue to stream the live Polar Bear Cams through November 20th (with the Cape Churchill Cam year-round), bringing the migration to you. And the Northern Lights Cam has been spectacular, with rippling ribbons of green transforming the polar night.

  • In addition, we’ve planned two Tundra Connections webcasts to wrap up the season. The first,  Icy Innovations, will air live from Churchill on Tuesday, November 9th at 12 pm Central. The second, Paws Up for Powerful Change, will come to you live from COP26 in Glasgow on Wednesday, November 10th at 11 am Central. You can sign up via the links for each and join us here at the appropriate time.

  • You’ll also want to watch our social channels for more coverage from COP26, where our delegation is speaking up for polar bears and the Arctic. And stayed tuned for reports from our research team as they recap this fall’s field season.

  • And, finally, you won’t want to miss our last live chat of the season, Farewell to the Tundra, on Friday, November 12th at 1 p.m. Watch it here as we look back at the season and answer questions!

Thank you for joining us for this year’s bear season and for your commitment to polar bears and the Arctic. Together, we can safeguard this fragile ecosystem for generations to come, ensuring a future for the bears and improving conditions for people, too.

P.S. If you received an error message while trying to donate yesterday, our donation platform was experiencing technical difficulties. The issue has been remedied and you can still donate to help us reach our goal for Polar Bear Week.