In northern Manitoba, Canada on the west shore of Hudson Bay, there’s a town called Churchill that’s known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.” Many polar bears move toward the shore for several weeks in the fall, creating the largest wild polar bear concentration in the world. Around 1,000 polar bears gather near this small town of about 900 people in October and early November, waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can hunt ringed seals and other marine mammals. Many locals even leave their cars unlocked in case someone needs to make a quick escape from the polar bears in the area.
Few wildlife experiences compare to witnessing polar bears in their natural habitat, and Churchill is the perfect place to see them. Churchill is one of the few human settlements where you can come face to face with this mighty mammal from unique tundra buggies that let you travel in comfort and safety over the rugged terrain. And it just so happens that Cruise & Tour is GOING to Churchill for this incredible experience on the 2018 Vice President’s Adventure, October 23-28!
Polar Bear Fun Facts:
- Polar bears are the world’s largest land predators. They top the food chain in the Arctic, where they dine primarily on seals.
- The polar bear is the youngest of the eight bear species. Scientists believe that the polar bear evolved about 200,000 years ago from brown bear ancestors.
- Adult male polar bears weigh from 775 to more than 1,500 pounds. Females are considerably smaller, normally weighing 330 to 550 pounds.
- The five “polar bear nations” where the ice bears are found include the U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway.
- Polar bears are champion swimmers. They have been known to swim more than 60 miles without rest.
- Polar bears’ forepaws are partially webbed to assist in swimming. These massive forepaws measure up to 12” in diameter.
- The polar bear’s fat layer, which is 3 to 4.5 inches thick, not only protects it from the cold but adds to its buoyancy in the water.
- The polar bear’s compact ears and small tail help prevent heat loss. When curled up in a ball, they oftentimes cover their muzzles to reduce heat loss as well.
- Females with cubs generally avoid adult male bears, which sometimes attack the young. Highly protective mother bears are capable of driving off much larger males. Mother polar bears can be so protective of their young that they have been known to rear up and leap at helicopters carrying research scientists.
- The annual mortality rate of adult bears is surprisingly low, as little as 5% per year. Those polar bears that manage to survive to adulthood have learned to master the challenges of arctic life. Scientists estimate that there are roughly 22,000 to 27,000 polar bears throughout the Arctic.
If you’re ready to see these wild polar bears up close and personal (and the northern lights too), give us a call to reserve your spot on this once in a lifetime adventure. There are currently only 4 spots left! Call 800-383-3131 today!
Credit: Polar Bears International (polarbearsinternational.org)
By Mike Capalbo
Group Products Specialist