When you go to see Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba, you ride in a Tundra Buggy. These big boxes can carry up to 50 people, have an open porch on the back, and are almost impossible to get stuck.
Like I said, it's almost impossible.
Churchill sits on the southern edge of Hudson Bay. It's one of the first places in the Bay to freeze over in the winter, so the bears gather here waiting for their chance to get out on the ice. They are impatient, because they eat very little during the summer and have to get out to sea to hunt seals and get their body fat back to normal levels.
The Polar Bears are very curious creatures and will get very close to the buggies if the picture taking of the tourists isn't too loud.
Mom, however, doesn't like to get to close to the buggies. Here a mom and her approximately year old cubs (called the Cubs of the Year or COY) give the tourists a wide berth.
When the cubs get a little older, then mom relaxes a little.
These guys will probably be chased off by mom in the near future to start their solitary lives.
Here are a few more bear pictures without the running commentary; don't worry, I'll add a few more words later.
This big fella I like to call Spot. No one was sure how he got the green paint on his shoulder/neck, but it made a nice fashion statement.
Churchill has other wildlife, too, but they don't get as much
press because they are much shier than the bears.
Here, and Arctic Fox got fairly close to a bear - but not too close.
At this time of year, the young males like to practice
sparring. They will have these fights for real in a few months, when
mating season begins.
For now, it's part fun, part training, and part checking to see who will be the biggest rivals in the months to come.