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Polar Bear Watching in Canada

Door Viator, May 2018

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Know where the polar bear capital of the world is? Why, that’d be Churchill, Manitoba, of course. A tiny town of 800 in the north Canadian wilderness, Churchill is surrounded by beautifully untouched land—arctic tundra, boreal forest and glittering dark waters on the western shore of Hudson Bay.

There are chances to see polar bears here all year-round, but it’s best to come in October or early November when thousands of the mammals migrate to the shores around Churchill, waiting for Hudson Bay’s subarctic waters to freeze over. Why? So they head out in search of their favorite food: ringed seals. Yum.

In town, the presence of polar bears has made a unique imprint on the community—locals often leave their cars unlocked in case someone needs to make a quick escape from an angry polar bear, and there’s also the “polar bear jail,” where loitering adolescent cubs who cause a nuisance are kept until the bay freezes and they can be let back into the wild.

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