What I Know About...Polar Bears
by Jackie Orsulak
: Tundra Buggy Lodge
Churchill is a quiet little village until late October, when it is inundated with tourists hoping to see a bear. The best way to see the most bears is to stay in the tundra buggy lodge, which is 14 miles from the city on the edge of the Hudson Bay. The lodge is like a train of tundra buggy cars. There are two sleeping cars with upper and lower bunks, a lounge car where nightly presentations are made, a dining car, a storage car and a special car for Dennis Compayre.
Dennis is a local bear enthusiast. He was the original tundra buggy driver. Now he spends the six weeks of bear season on the tundra in his specially equipped tundra buggy. He has his computer, a satellite dish and a video camera mounted to the roof of the buggy. He controls the camera from inside his warm tundra buggy. The camera takes pictures of the action on the tundra and transmits them all over the world via the Internet. In late October you can go to his website and see the polar bears and other arctic creatures. At one time, he could only broadcast a new picture every 30 seconds. Now he is able to send a more “movie-like” video stream, so one can actually see the bears moving. Be sure to check out this website around Halloween next fall.
The edge of the Hudson Bay is the gathering place for most of the bears waiting for the ice to freeze. Until the ice freezes and the bears go out, most of the bears around the tundra buggy are males and females without cubs. The mothers don’t want to bring their cubs near the big males, as they are so hungry they will eat the babies. The waiting bears mostly just lie around, conserving energy and waiting for the ice to freeze.
: Bears at Play
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