Polar Bear Facts/ Polar Bear High Season Tips/ Bear Lore/ Rules of Bear Safety 1/ Rules of Bear Safety 2/ Wildlife Management applied to Polar Bears

Introduction to Churchill's Polar Bears/ Reasons to Visit/ Practicalities/ Churchill the Town


Basic Polar Bear Facts

If you plan on wandering around the tundra and remnant boreal forest for any reason, you need to consider options for self-defense. Refreshingly, the greatest physical danger you will encounter comes from polar bears, not low-lifes of our own species. When I was up there in July, 1996, 16 bear sightings occurred in 11 days. Everyone commented upon the unusual number of unseasonal bear sightings. I was all over the place on foot, hiking, botanizing and taking pix. I may have been

Your chances of a problem are probably much slimmer in July, because they are in a natural fasting state at that time.


As summer turns into fall, moving toward October, the danger increases. Right before their hunting season begins, (early to Mid-November onward) they are hungry and thinking about food. They hunt ringed seal out on Hudson Bay once the ice freezes over. By this time of year, their appetites are already whetted and they could really use a good meal, or at least a snack.

Some experts anticipate increasing problems with unfortunate bear-human interactions as the global climate warms. You may be an artist, a poet, a great scientist, a fine all-round human being, but to a polar bear, you are meat. (although fortunately not their favorite, or one they apparently even enjoy much.)

Do not try to run away from a polar bear. They can outrun a human. Seeing an animal fleeing from them arouses their instincts to chase. They think you are prey.

Do not stare at them directly. Direct eye contact, to them, is a sign of aggression.

Their Latin name is Ursus maritimus. Roughly translated, this means "Sea Bear." This should tell most people all they need to know about a polar bear's swimming ability. They can outswim you.

Go to my hair-raising conversation with Ray, about how to tell if a polar bear is angry at you and what to do.