A mother polar bear with triplet cubs walks across the snowy tundra.

A mother polar bear with triplet cubs was one of several rare sights kicking off this year's Polar Bear Week.

© Dave Allcorn/Polar Bears International

11/2/2020 4:16:32 PM

Polar Bear Season: Week 3

By Kieran McIver, Churchill Operations Manager

Happy Polar Bear Week from the polar bear capital of the world! In my home of Churchill, sea ice is beginning to pile up on the edge of Hudson Bay and polar bears are gathering.

Last week we spotted the mother polar bear with triplets again, a rare wolverine darting across the tundra, and—most impressively—14 polar bears orbiting a single ringed seal kill. These bears have not had a full meal since their sea ice hunting grounds melted in July, and I’m sure even a seal “split” 14 ways was a welcome snack.

This scene felt like a fitting entry into Polar Bear Week, which in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide elections will be unlike any other. We're offering more ways for people to get involved from home, with a special focus on relieving lockdown stress and shining a light on the ways your community can help ensure the polar bear’s future:

  • The Polar Bear Cams have been full of life this season. While the bears and other Arctic creatures are certainly the stars of the show, I also recommend trying to catch the northern lights or a late fall tundra sunrise or sunset. These skies cannot be beat.
  • We have two great Live Chats on the schedule this week. Tune in for Zen Out with Polar Bears, on Tuesday, November 3rd at 12 pm Central and Tracking Polar Bears with Technology on Thursday, November 5th at 12 pm Central. You can watch them here.
  • Our Tundra Connections webcast, Polar Bear Claws and Paws - A Lesson on Arctic Adaptations, is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th at 12 pm Central. To join, register and then watch here at the appropriate time.
  • This is an intense moment across the globe. Send a polar bear adoption to someone in your life who needs a polar bear hug—or make a special Polar Bear Week donation in support of our work!

Thank you for all you do for the bears. I’ll be in touch next Monday with a look at the week ahead.

Field Highlight

Decades of long-term polar bear tracking research has given us ever-growing insights into their icy world, but there is still much that remains poorly understood. Currently, most tracking data comes from satellite collars worn by adult female polar bears. Male bears typically have necks larger than their heads, so the collars slip off, and young bears can still be growing rapidly, making collars risky.

Fortunately, researchers are now successfully deploying a new form of tracking technology that can be worn by any member of the population—satellite ear tags.

While these ear tags may not collect as much data, they still compile useful information and they're even being used to examine a long unanswered management and policy question: Where do problem polar bears go once relocated from the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill, Manitoba? Learn more about satellite ear tags and tracking problem bears.

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