Polar Bear Blog

Polar bear cubs, Mom and males, highlight Polar Bear Photo Safari at Seal River

Polar bear cubs on the move at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Haskell Rosenberg photo.
Polar bear cubs on the move at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Haskell Rosenberg photo.

by Bella Waterton, Churchill Wild Wilderness Guide

Another amazing week has come to an end at Seal River Heritage Lodge, and guests on this Polar Bear Photo Safari were treated to some amazing encounters and views of polar bears!

Our week started with a great view of a Mom and COY (Cub of the Year, meaning the cub will be one year old in December of this year). We had a lovely viewing of the duo while they fed on grasses and seaweed, taking some time to nuzzle and snuggle.

A kiss for Mom at Seal River. Scott Ahles Photo.
A kiss for Mom at Seal River. Scott Ahles Photo.

We left them just as we found them, feeding and snuggling, resting up for their march northwards in search of ice, but the illustrator in our group, Azumi Takamatsu, captured the moment perfectly.

Tender moment at Seal River. Illustration by Azumi Takamatsu. Click image for Azumi's Web site. Also on Instagram and Facebook @azumimushi.
Tender moment at Seal River. Illustration by Azumi Takamatsu. Click image for Azumi’s Web site. Also on Instagram and Facebook @azumimushi.

The next morning we woke up to a storm, with high winds from the east along with sideways flying snow. At first glance, there wasn’t any movement in the area surrounding the lodge, but as we prepared to head outside, we noticed a large male on the forming ice.

Polar bear makes his way across slushy ice at Seal River. Temujin Johnson photo
Polar bear makes his way across slushy ice at Seal River. Temujin Johnson photo.

The big male was swimming through the brash ice, as it wasn’t strong enough to hold his weight. Watching him swim, and leap from ice pan to ice pan was an incredible sight to see, confirming the great strength and coordination these creatures have. When he reached shore he headed straight for the point of land in front of the lodge, where he began eating what looked to be a seal kill.

Another male appeared, who looked to be quite old, with plenty of scarring. It was interesting to watch the interaction between the two bears, with the younger one allowing the older bear to have his fill of the remainder of the carcass.

Mom brought her two cubs right up to the lodge fence! Scott Ahles photo.
Mom brought her two cubs right up to the lodge fence! Scott Ahles photo.

To top off these incredible sights, we were lucky to see a Mom with two cubs on our last day. We spotted them off in the distance, on the ice, and watched them as they slowly made their way in towards the lodge. We viewed them from inside the compound, as mothers with young cubs can be quite nervous.

Mom and cubs approaching the lodge at Seal River. Temijun Johnson photo.
Mom and cubs approaching the lodge at Seal River. Temijun Johnson photo.

We watched as they approached through the ice, the cubs having a much easier time than the mother, as they were much lighter. All three came right up to the fence to check us out, which made for a fabulous way to end the week!

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