Sunday, 15 November 2015

Churchill Polar Bears, 5th November 2015

Today, I went on a commercial Tundra Buggy tour. My other postings show that it's possible to view and photograph bears independently, but this depends upon local knowledge and a willingness to drive on snow covered trails. Buggy tours provide a more reliable method, but are not without controversy. The numbers of tours is controlled via a permit system, and my experience over recent years suggests that drivers are no longer tempted to veer off track, thus risking damage to the tundra. However, bears are attracted closely to the vehicles by the smell of food, and both companies habitually drive close to a resting bear before serving lunch, invariably causing the the animal to investigate more closely. Of even greater concern are the tundra lodges, which consist of buggies joined together to form sleeping accommodation. In my view, these have an unnecessary impact on a fragile area, and make it more likely that bears become food conditioned, therefore posing a risk to themselves and people if they venture closer to town.

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