By nature, polar bears are very inquisitive, and I found them delightful and entertaining to observe!
When not snoozing, or hunkered down low to the ground to keep warm in the wind, the bears were much more active, the cubs in particular were often playing and trying to amuse themselves with whatever was available, including their siblings…
In this case below, one of the cubs has its sibling all wrapped and tangled in some roots or kelp. Mom just continued to snooze through it all. Clearly she has had cubs before!
Sticks, chunks of ice, pieces of kelp, and even a piece of bone were play-toys for the bears
Lacking opposable thumbs on their paws, the bears do know how to use what they have to good effect..
Three Bear Monte – Just keep your eyes on the stick buddy
After a while, I actually started to feel a bit sorry for the cubs and sub-adults, as they lacked a variety of objects to attract them, and to play with.
Bear with a Bone
Another time, we watched another cub (it’s mom was snoozing) who wandered over to investigate what another polar bear family was up to, and was promptly chased away by the other bears. It was like watching a polar bear schoolyard.
Not welcome to play with the “Cool Bears”
The highlight of the whole trip was completely unexpected and very unusual, one afternoon we were treated to watching a cub “goofing” with its mom, it would paw her head, bite her ear, bite her neck and generally make a pest of itself. Mom however was extremely patient and put up with all the cub’s antics.
We watched this performance for over an hour, mesmerized by the cub and even our guide said he had never seen anything like this in more than ten years of guiding here. Luckily I captured a few minutes of video of this to share –
Anyone wanting to own wall art of my polar bear images should check out this link –
I am ashamed to say that my country (Canada) allows the trophy hunting of Polar Bears, so if you enjoyed these photographs of polar bears frolicking and playing, please join me and sign the petition against trophy hunting of Polar Bears!
Also, check back for more posts in this seven part series, a new one is being added daily as we get to International Polar Bear Day on Feb 27th.