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2015 Fall Arctic Trip

November 1, 2015

Antonina Kandiurin, '17 Junior Ranger

Today on the tundra buggy I've gotten to see polar bears in a new light. The polar bears were doing things I have never seen them do before, even though I have lived in Churchill for just about 16 years I've never gotten to see polar bears spar or role around everywhere in the snow trying to relieve their itchiness. It's so amazing seeing the bears and all of their own personalities and how they react to things in different ways.

We saw about 15 bears in total and got a few pretty good pictures of at least 6. In my opinion, I thought that the bears were very cooperative when it came to taking pictures of them. Being out on the Tundra Buggy kind of gives me a different perspective of the bears. Living my everyday life in Churchill, I never actually think about all the bears outside of town that are doing all these amazing things and socializing.

Some of the bears today had some pretty cool scars on them and it just shows you how they interact with each other, the things they have to do to eat and get through their everyday lives. There were two bears today that we named Kansas City and Jakarta, you can tell that Jakarta was a pretty tall bear but he was also very skinny so it wasn't a surprise that they didn't spar when they came across each other because of the condition it was in. My over all experience on the Tundra Buggy's today was a pretty good one because it gave me a whole different point of view of the way that I saw polar bears growing up doing my everyday life stuff in Churchill.

Melissa Gilbert, ‘17 Kelvin High School, Winnipeg

Today November 1st was our first day on the tundra buggy. From 8am-4pm w spent our time finding and documenting polar bears. Many people were taking whisker print, body condition and body size pictures of 14 bears. Amsterdam, our first bear a female with tags in both ears, came right up to the buggy and was very curious about our buggy as well as the other buggies near us. Shortly after her we saw Baltimore, Cairo, Denver and Edmonton. ISAMR (our group) has decided to name the bears we discover after cities around the world. Other names we used today were Firenze, Geneva, Hampton, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Kansas City. These bears we found all over the tundra and near Hudson Bay, some lying down, fighting, or walking around. After 8 hours on the buggy, we came back to the CNSC and ate a big delicious dinner. Dr. Jane Waterman had a very interesting presentation prepared for us about the research on polar bears after we ate and for the rest of the evening we got to help with data collection and hang out with each other. Overall today was really exciting to see the bears and really see what Churchill has to offer!

Isaac Lichtenstein ’18 The Park School of Baltimore

After an early egg and potato breakfast, we embarked onto the Tundra Buggies for our first day of Whisker Printing. After a brief and bumpy ride we spotted out first bear, Amsterdam who was followed by Baltimore, and then Cairo, Denver, Hampton, Jakarta and Kansas. We passed an additional four or five bears, but they stayed in the distance, to far to warrant a name. The hours before lunch were a flurry of bear activity, everything from snuggling to sparring. After a brief snack, we tackled the next four hours of bear activity, which included some more intense sparring, and a pair of picturesque images: A large bear standing nobly atop a boulder, the freezing bay and cloud-wreathed sun in the background. Closer to the end, we spotted our final bear, an unnamed one who lay peacefully on a hunk of ice, overlooking the same bay with a quiet demeanor. It was a brilliant first day; we saw an absurd amount of bears. I can say, undoubtedly, this has been an amazing and new experience, and one that I hope to return to in future years.