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Polar Bears, Wolves & Beluga Whales

Hudson Bay, Manitoba - August 2016
This was my second time visiting Churchill, Manitoba and the Nanuk Lodge, operated by Churchill Wild. Last year, I was filming an episode of Angry Planet, but this time I was on the trip as a representative of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
 
We spent 2 days in Churchill, then flew south, along the coast of Hudson Bay to Nanuk where we were based for four nights of wildlife viewing and extraordinary northern lights.

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These bears will spend the entire summer along the Hudson Bay coast, eating very little. They will chew the hedges, eat some berries or scavenge what they can.
Once the bay freezes in the late fall, all these polar bears will make a dash for the sea ice.
Black bear. It's not just polar bears along Hudson Bay.

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"Big Mama" This huge (almost certainly pregnant) bear is probably over 1000 lbs!
Sunset from Nanuk lodge.
After a summer rain, the mosquitoes and no-see-ums came out with a vengeance. A cloud of them can be seen around this bear's head. They drove me crazy, I feel bad for the bears.

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One of hundreds of beluga whales. We saw them from Zodiacs, then went kayaking, and snorkeling with them.
Two males, sparring in the water near Churchill. We saw these two while cruising in a Zodiac along the coast.
A bald eagle in the trees.

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A lone bear out on the tidal flats at low tide.
We would walk single-file out towards the bears to make our group look smaller. The bears were curious, but never aggressive.
Sleep time!

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This is your first indication that you are not at the top of the food chain out here.
An old shipwreck that was likely blown in by a strong storm. Also, the land here is still rebounding from the weight of the glaciers during the last ice age. This continues to push the ground higher, slowly raising the ship a little more each year.
Northern Manitoba sunrise.

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Our group, enjoying the sunrise, looking for bears and other wildlife.
Polar bear, prowling the shores of Hudson Bay.
Wolf.

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The majestic Canadian wolf.
A glitch in the matrix?
Nope, just 2 wolves and just the right camera angle.
A bear approaching the sport where a large black wolf was eating berries.

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The bear steps out onto the landing strip near the lodge.
Polar bear and wolf on the landing strip outside the remote lodge. The bear told the wolf off, but it came right back.
Both the bear and wolf were enjoying the plentiful berries.

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It is rare to see polar bears and wolves at the same time.
Wolf sightings here are not common & we had several very close encounters.
Fattened up by good ice conditions this year in Hudson Bay, this female is ready to ride out the lean times of summer.

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A warning at the Prince of Wales Fort, near Churchill.

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