Can a community learn to live with polar bears? Hundreds of polar bears gather near Churchill, Manitoba, every fall to wait for the sea ice to form on Hudson Bay.
The province of Manitoba goes to great lengths to protect the bears that support the town's thriving ecotourism industry.
In 1982, Manitoba Conservation built a holding facility to house problem bears that came too close to town during the fall migration. Manitoba Conservation has developed a highly successful Polar Bear Alert Program.
The program has reduced—but not eliminated—negative human-to-polar-bear encounters.
North of Churchill, the community of Arviat has initiated a grassroots effort to keep both polar bears and humans safe in and around their town.
Conservation officers seasonally supplement their patrol efforts in partnership with the Inuit hamlet, putting more eyes on the ground during the busy polar-bear season.
A specific hotspot of conflict in Arviat were its dog team yards, where sled dogs were housed and fed. To reduce bear incursions, local mushers now move their dogs into one large area closer to town, surrounded by electric fencing.
A regional government oversees a huge swath of the Northern Coast.
North Slope Borough, a regional government that oversees a huge swath of the Northern Coast, uses a combination of people from their wildlife management team and seasonal polar-bear patrol staff to protect communities in their region. These people respond to polar bear sightings 24/7 and ensure people and bears stay safe.
Watch polar bears as they travel across the sea ice to hunt seals.
Polar Bear FAQ
We answer the most frequently asked polar bear questions.