Page 10 - Breath of the Bear
P. 10

POLAR BEARS









                 Alaska, North Manitoba and Iqaluit, Nunavut in Canada

































                                                                                                              Francoise Gervais
















           Dave Briggs                                                    Arctic Kingdom
          Deep in the frozen tundra of  Alaska and   but it is highly recommended that it is done   doesn’t rise again until the end of January. In
        Canada, where the spirit of the northern lights   with a guide. These bears have absolutely no   between there is just one hour of twilight. Most
        touch the ice, roams a bear the Inuit people   fear of humans. They are dangerous predators   visitors arrive in the summer with twice daily
        call ‘Nanook”. He is the undisputed ruler of   and do view us as prey.    flights from Fairbanks. There are several hotels
        his wintery kingdom, where he fears no one.                               and restaurants and plenty of opportunities
        Revered, prized and honored, the polar bear   Kaktovik, Alaska            to see a wide variety of bird life including the
        stands alone at the top of the food chain. As   While polar bears spend most of their time   snowy owl, enormous herds of caribou, the
        large as a Kodiak bear, a male can weigh over   on  the  ice,  during  ice-free  periods  between   arctic fox and of course polar bears.
        1500  pounds.  They  spend  the  vast  majority   August and October they will make their way
        of their lives on the sea ice where they exist   to land near the  village of Kaktovik,  which   Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
        to hunt seals by patiently waiting for one to   sits on the edge of the 20-million-acre Arctic   Called the polar bear capitol of the world
        come  out  of  the  water  where  they  crush  its   National Wildlife Reserve. It is a small Inupiat   it is also a whale viewing hotspot, a birder’s
        skull with their massive jaws. While seals are   village that has very limited hotel rooms and   paradise and it has been said the northern
        the preferred meal they have also been known   other amenities.           lights  will take  your breath away. But by far
        to hunt caribou and beluga whales. Their girth                            it is the polar bears that attract the most
        masks the fact that they are agile swimmers   Utqiagvik, Alaska           attention.  Thousands of  visitors descend on
        and divers. The white coat is made up of water   (formerly known as Barrow)  Churchill every year to view and photograph
        repellant hair on top of a thick undercoat that   The most northern town in  America,   these magnificent creatures in the wild. Prime
        channels the sunlight to their black skin. There   Utqiagvik is 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle.   viewing time is in October and November
        are areas that are best for viewing polar bears   The sun sets on the town in early November and   when the bears are on the move from the
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