Sparring Polar Bears on the shore – Churchill, Canada 2021

Sparring Polar Bears on the shore. It was a gloriously sunny day on the shoreline of Hudson Bay, Churchill. The snow was brilliant white and sparkling. Looking around one could see several Polar Bears sleeping, slowly walking around or interacting in small groups. This pair came together and soon started to play fight. The sparring went on for several minutes before they tired and went on their way. The setting for this encounter was wonderful: brilliant snow, colourful rocks and rock pools.

Polar Bears congregate on the tundra close to Hudson’s Bay, Churchill, because this is the place they know where the bay will freeze over first and they will be able to hunt seals and have their first substantial meal in months. The bay freezes first at this location because the fresh water from the Churchill river enters the bay, reduces its salinity and hence it freezes over earlier than the rest of the bay. It’s a waiting game. It was cold when we were there but not cold enough to freeze the sea. Within a week or so of this being filmed, the temperatures plummeted and the bay began to freeze over. The Polar Bears will soon have gone from around Churchill in search of seals which will haul out on the new ice.