ON LOCATION: TRACKING ARCTIC POLAR BEARS
Frigid climate – minus 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit — below zero. Howling winds – 40 to 50mph during the day and 70mph plus during the night with the mobile camp shaking all night long against the relentless Arctic Circle wind blasts off the Hudson Bay of Cape Churchill, Canada.
After a 2 hour bouncy night ride to reach a mobile base camp, I tracked and photographed for six nights and seven days on the frozen tundra to have maximum access to one of the most critically endangered species in the world today — the Arctic Polar Bear — Ursus Maritimus.
Playing, courting, fighting, hunting, sleeping, and protecting their cubs, the Arctic Polar Bears love the snow, the white outs, stinging winds, and ice shrinking earlier and more rapidly due to global warming. They number about 22,000 to 25,000 worldwide in five places — Alaska, Russia, Norway, Greenland and here in Arctic Canada.
With seven layers of clothes for my torso, and four layers for my legs, fingers and toes freeze within a minute or more having you retreat from an outer open platform to inside the vehicle to photograph through open windows.
I captured their diverse behavior with wide angle to 500mm lenses from 8:00am to 4:00pm each day at this Polar Bear Capital of the world. They live about 30 years in the wild, weight up to 1,500 pounds, can swim between 220 to 400 in quest for food, mainly seals and can smell as far away as 20 miles.
I hope to return in a future spring for the infants emerging with their mothers from their dens. Polar Bear International one of the world’s leading preservation groups based in Hudson Bay, researches and tracks the Polar Bears year round.