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Polar Bear Migration Season Fully Underway


Winter season is migration season. In the past month alone, a small town in Canada had seen hundreds of polar bears make the annual trudge back to Hudson Bay, where the ice is freezing once more after the summer melt. Each autumn, the bears pass by the town of Churchill, in Manitoba, Canada, considered as the “polar bear capital of the world.”
Because of their regular annual migration, this group of polar bears is also known as the most studied group of polar bears in the world, with the renowned Dr. Ian Stirling first beginning his groundbreaking research on these animals some 40 years ago.  The regularity in which this particular population comes ashore each year also makes them easy to count, as Steven Amstrup of  Polar Bears International points out.

With a population of just 900 people, Churchill is no doubt a small town, but it boasts of having several hotels, with tourists coming in droves during the winter to see the polar bear migration. The tourist draw is further enhanced by regular sightings of adorable beluga whales at the Churchill River’s mouth. Its’ estimated that around 10,000 tourists make the trip to this town each year.

With the seasonal freeze approaching, polar bears have consistently gathered along Cape Churchill’s coastal areas, giving people the opportunity to see these majestic animals in the   form the safety of tundra buggies, huge all-terrain vehicles that shuttle out tourists during the winter.

To prevent bear attacks, though uncommon but are known to happen, Churchill residents make a racket and fire shotguns with rubber bullets to ward off the animals. The town also closed its dump, which used to draw the bears.

Read the full story on National Geographic.

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