Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Polar Bears in the Russian Arctic

I have just returned from a Heritage Expeditions trip to the Russian Arctic. I saw an amazing 90 Polar Bears within the space of a week, with about 106 being seen overall on the voyage. The animal above was an adolescent male on the shore of Wrangel Island, regarded by many as the Polar Bear capital of the world. We saw 16 bears on one occasion in one valley, all in view at the same time.
Here is a female bear with her cub, with a second cub emerging from the water, on Kolyuchin Island, where we saw our first Polar Bears.
 This bear was swimming off Herald Island, which has an incredible density of 12 Polar Bear maternity dens per square kilometre. Wrangle and Herald Islands were unusually free of ice during our visit, so all the bears were concentrated on the islands, waiting for the autumn ice to form.
This large male was watched for some time from us in offshore zodiaks. The bears were generally shy and it was easier to see them from the water.
This bear was feeding on a dead Walrus on the shore of Wrangel Island - its tusks can be seen in the lower right of the picture.

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