Every year an estimated 1,000 polar bears linger outside the small Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over. This year, a group of organizations are partnering to bring a front row view of the annual migration to anyone around the world with an Internet connection. Until the end of November, explore.org will be streaming live polar bear camera feeds from the Tundra.
To promote the preservation of the species and provide a moving, educational polar bear experience online, explore.org, a philanthropic media organization, Polar Bears International, a leading organization focused on preservation and education surrounding the threatened species, and adventure company Frontiers North will be delivering live video feeds via the Web. To bring the bears to life online and in real-time, the groups have affixed high-definition cameras onto a roving Tundra Buggy® and along the edges of the Tundra Buggy® Lodge situated directly in the path of the age-old migration.
Charles Annenberg Weingarten, filmmaker and founder of explore.org, said in a press release, “The polar bears are among the most magical of our planet’s endangered species, and much like the lions of Africa, have come to represent the many consequences of global warming and industrialization.” He added, “By providing a window into their worlds, we are giving people a chance to come together to cherish the bears and an opportunity to share their plight in a compelling way.”
The bears travel through the small town each October and November and then wait for the Hudson Bay freeze-up, when they can get out on the ice and hunt for seals. Krista Wright, executive vice president of Polar Bears International, says it is “unseasonably warm” in Manitoba for this time of year. This means there’s a good chance that the ice may not start forming until later, and the bears are basically fasting because the time they are spending on land is longer. Last year’s freeze came a month late, in the middle of December.
This change of climate is damaging the bears’ habitat. Like many other species, the lives of these megafauna depend on large interconnected lands and seas–without the formation of the ice, the bears have little to no food to eat. This specific effort to help protect the polar bear is one among many great examples of WILD’s commitment to Nature Needs Half.