So you’ve always wanted to take a trip to Churchill, Manitoba – polar bear capital of the world – to see those massive white bears, up close and personal? For some people that trip becomes reality, but not for everyone. If it’s your dream to get up there to see polar bears up close, but haven’t been able to do it, don’t fret. Here’s the next best thing.
The non-profit conservation group, Polar Bear International and its two partners, Frontier North Adventures and explore.org, have provided a way to see polar bears, up close and personal, from the comfort of your recliner at home. Introducing…. The Polar Bear Cam.
This joint venture was created to let people around the world have a window into the lives of the roughly 900 polar bears who call the Churchill area, home. There are four live polar bear cams running, scanning the area for polar bears on the move. You can tune in to whichever camera you want and take a screen shot of the image to share online. But the cameras are just for the entertainment and eduction of the public. The images are used for scientific research, contributing to our understanding of polar bear biology. For example, the images allow scientists to see weather bears are travelling alone or in family groups. If it’s a mother and her cubs, how many cubs are there? The images can also tell researchers what their physical health is like – do the bears look nice and plump or really thin, suggesting they aren’t getting enough food?
The project is funded largely by the Annenberg Foundation. Charlie Annenberg is the founder of explore.org, the organization hosting the polar bear cams.