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Archive for July, 2011

Polar Bears in the News

polar bear newsThere have been a lot of polar bear stories in the news lately and here is a quick round up.

Godfather of polar bear scienceEdmonton scientist Ian Stirling’s new book on polar bears wasn’t even in bookstores this summer when a venerable American wildlife magazine posted a gushing review.


The latest, Polar Bears, The Natural History of a Threatened Species, is a handsome book of articles and photographs that is a memoir, a reference book, a science book, a coffee-table book and a lament for a species that could disappear from most of its range sometime within the next half-century.

Stirling spends a lot of time and effort in Churchill and does work with Polar Bears International. PBI is offering signed copies for sale on their website. If you’re interested in Stirling’s book you can find it here.

Here’s another interesting story that is sure to have many expressing concern:

A mother polar bear swam for nine days straight to reach sea ice, covering nearly 700 kilometres and losing her cub in the process, according to a new study on the movement of female polar bears.

The study, which links shrinking sea ice as a possible threat to polar bear cubs, also noted the bear lost 22 per cent of her body weight after swimming in the Beaufort Sea.

Luckily the polar bears in Hudson Bay don’t have quite that far to go to get off the sea ice – could be the reason we see so many healthy bears around the Seal River Heritage Lodge.

The Beaufort Sea is north of Alaska & the Yukon. There seems to be a story like this every year in the news.

And while there are reports of bears swimming incredible lengths and drowning, today comes a story of a scientist who did some of those studies being investigated:

A U.S. wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Here is a tidbit on polar bear (and grizzly and black bear) safety information:

A study published in 2008 in The Journal of Wildlife Management looked at the efficacy of bear spray as a deterrent involving grizzly, black and polar bear encounters in Alaska from 1985 to 2006.

In 72 cases where people sprayed bears to defend themselves, 98 per cent walked away uninjured.

That’s good to know if you’re ever out there alone in the woods. When we walk with polar bears at the lodges we travel in groups. Our polar bear guides – Andy & Terry – are 100% pros when it comes to keeping our guests safe.

There are other interesting bear facts and stats in that article. Make sure you give it a read if you ever plan to go hiking through the Canadian Wilderness alone (not recommended without Andy or Terry present). You DO NOT want to cause a stir like this guy:

Conservation officers in northeastern Manitoba were forced to fatally shoot a polar bear after it ran after a tourist and charged at a truck.

Laura Gray-Ellis said she was at the health centre in Churchill on Monday morning when she saw a tourist at the beach snapping photos just three metres from the bear.

That’s what happens when people do not follow the posted rules and disrespect polar bears. Just plain stupid.

There’s also a super-great, super-fantastic, super-yummy story about an Arctic cuisine/Canadian wine pairing that is happening at Seal River Heritage Lodge this weekend.

Churchill Wild, which owns and operates Canada’s premier polar bear lodges for viewing polar bears in their natural environment, has partnered with Banville & Jones Wine Co. in Winnipeg to celebrate Food Day Canada 2011 on July 30 with a wine-pairing event at their remote Seal River Heritage Lodge in Northern Manitoba, Canada.

And from the always strange (and how things have changed) files – here’s an old newspaper clipping from 1951 entitled “Crippled Polar, Four Monkeys, Bear Still Free” A circus trailer overturned and released a bunch of animals in Arkansas. Among them was a polar bear.

Notice the $200 reward if anyone can capture the polar bear alive!

Pizza Bread Variations – Jeanne’s Arctic Appetizers Week #5

Jeanne's Arctic Appetizers - Churchill Wild


Pizza Bread Sticks

Divide dough into 64 pieces. Roll each on a greased surface, using flat hands and rolling the dough into a stick with a 1/2″ (1.3 cm) diameter. Length will vary.

Makes 64 breadsticks.

Pizza Taste Teaser Sticks

Divide dough into 8 pieces. On a greased surface, shape dough into long, thin loaves 1″ (2.5 cm) in diameter. Length will vary.

Makes 8 sticks.

Pizza Bread with Cheese

Make the pizza bread recipe on the previous page into Taste Teaser Sticks.

          pizza bread

          grated mozzarella cheese

Preparation Instructions

1. Slice the Taste Teaser Sticks in 1/4″ (6 mm) slices. Place on a greased baking sheet.

2. Sprinkle mozzarella over each slice.

3. Bake at 350°F (180°C) until cheese is melted. Serve hot.


 Please let us know if you try them. We would love to know what you think.


Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer

This is the fifth in our series of Arctic Appetizers. We’ll post one a week so make sure to check back regularly. Why? Because we serve these at our lodges and they are really, really good!

Pizza Bread Sticks

Divide dough into 64 pieces. Roll each on a greased surface, using flat hands and rolling the dough into a stick with a 1/2″ (1.3 cm) diameter. Length will vary.

Polar Bear Capital: Report from Seal River – Birds, Bears & Belugas

by Allison Reimer

Peek-a-boo polar bear

Peek-a-Boo Polar Bear

It’s been a slower week at the Seal River Heritage Lodge because of the cool and cloudy weather but who can control that?

Thankfully the outdoor conditions haven’t deterred our adventurous polar bears, who have been plentiful for the opening week of Birds, Bears & Belugas.

We had a beautiful, big white bear wander by two days ago and last night we had a visit from a smaller bear. He sniffed around the lodge for quite some time and stood up to peer into the windows every once and a while.

Everyone was very excited – rushing from window to window as quietly as possible so as not to scare him off. Eventually he meandered off to get some rest and once the excitement died down we all followed suit.

Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera
Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera

Our videographer, Stuart, configured two cameras on top of what resembles a mini dune buggy in attempts to get Polar Bear footage at a closer (but safer for him) distance.

The guests are off on a new adventure today – a trip out to explore the tundra flats. We also have a group of travel agents from around the world visiting us for lunch today, courtesy of Travel Manitoba.

Thank You!

Polar Bear Lunch Special! Ginger Caribou Salad

Lunch with Polar Bears

The group sits down for a spectacular lunch!

On July 20th, we hosted a group of travel agents @ Seal River Heritage Lodge and Jeanne treated them to a special lunch. On our Facebook page she wrote:

Lunch today was Ginger Caribou Salad served with Curried Wild Rice. Thanks to Travel Manitoba for bringing us some new friends and thanks to the polar bear who provided the main entertainment!

Our Facebook page is THE place to be for polar bear info, great updates and plenty of wildlife photography. Please make sure to go over to the page and “like” us. Our Birds, Bears & Belugas adventure is running right now at Seal River and updates are always being posted regularly.

Here is one of the recipes to help you recreate that spectacular lunch – you’ll need to find some friends to share it with but if you want to add a polar bear strolling by you’ll have to come up to the lodge.

Ginger Caribou Salad


Apricot Ginger Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup apricot jam  (125 ml)
  • 2 tbsp  chopped fresh ginger root  (30 ml)
  • 2  large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tbsp  hoisin or soy sauce  (30 ml)

Caribou Salad:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch  (60 ml)
  • 1 tsp Dymond Lake Seasoning OR seasoned pepper  (5 ml)
  • 1 tsp salt  (5 ml)
  • 1 tsp cumin (5 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne  (2 ml)
  • 1 lb caribou, cut into strips  (500 g)   (we usually cut it off the hip)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, approximately  (60 ml)
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens (2 l)

Preparation Instructions

Ginger Caribou Salad

Ginger Caribou Salad served with Curried Wild Rice

1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the jam and stir in the ginger, garlic and hoisin sauce.

2. Mix the cornstarch, Dymond Lake Seasoning, salt, cumin and cayenne in a baggie or a bowl. Dredge the caribou strips in the coating.

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir-fry the caribou strips, adding more oil as necessary. Fry the strips in 2 or 3 batches so that the pan is not crowded.

4. Return the strips to the pan and pour the Apricot Ginger Sauce over, stirring for 2-3 minutes to coat the strips.

5. Serve immediately over mixed greens.

Serves 4

Pizza Bread – Jeanne’s Arctic Appetizers Week #4

Pizza Bread

Make Bread Sticks from this dough, or small loaves to eat with a meal. Or use it for an excellent taste teaser!

Jeanne's Arctic Appetizers - Churchill Wild



  • 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce  (375 ml)
  • 1/2 cup hot water  (125 ml)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar  (15 ml)
  • 1 tsp.  salt  (5 ml)
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil  (45 ml)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeño peppers  (60 ml)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp.  dried oregano, OR 2 tbsp. (30 ml) chopped fresh (10 ml)
  • 2 tsp.  dried basil, OR 2 tbsp. (30 ml) chopped fresh (10 ml)
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (approximately) (1.125 l)
  • 1 tbsp. instant yeast* (15 ml)
  •           butter OR margarine
  •           garlic salt

Preparation Instructions

1. In a large bowl, combine spaghetti sauce, water, sugar, salt, oil, jalapeños, garlic, oregano and basil. This mixture will have to be warmed a little if the hot water did not do the trick. Add 2 cups (500 mL) flour and the yeast*. Mix well with an electric mixer or a wire whisk.

2. Gradually add remaining flour and work into the dough either with the dough hook on your mixer or by hand. If by hand, turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and work flour into dough with a kneading motion, until dough feels soft and velvety, 8-10 minutes. You may need MORE or LESS flour.

3. Shape dough into a ball, place in a well-greased bowl, turning dough to grease the surface. Cover, put in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

4. Punch down dough and shape as desired.

Next week we’ll give you a few variations on this recipe for bread sticks, and different ideas for serving the pizza bread.


 Please let us know if you try them. We would love to know what you think.


Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer

This is the fourth in our series of Arctic Appetizers. We’ll post one a week so make sure to check back regularly. Why? Because we serve these at our lodges and they are really, really good!