POLAR ADVENTURE IN MANITOBA, CANADA

Manitoba, Canada | 9:45 am: Woke up early and headed out into this land of blowing snow, hoping to see more polar bear families. The guides, searching ahead of us, discovered the same mother and cubs we watched and photographed yesterday. They were at an alternate den site, 125 yards uphill. We could see at least two other holes that had recently been used as either dens or daybeds in the snow-covered valley surrounded by willows.

Shortly after we arrived, two small cubs came out of the den to enjoy the morning sunshine. They ran about tackling and wrestling each other for several hours. Their mother poked her head out of the den frequently to check on her cubs, which at times were wandering and playing 50 or 60 yards from the den. When they wandered any farther, she would raise her massive body halfway out of the den and call them back. While never fully climbing out, she was content to watch her young gamboling and playfighting much like juvenile and even aging male bears do throughout their lives.

12:25 pm: These polar bear cubs keep us entertained and laughing with their antics. They have so much energy, excitement and especially clumsy curiosity. There are little spruce trees on both sides of the den’s hole. One cub stood on his back legs and wrapped himself around the tree. He pawed softly at the branches, and as he lifted his back feet trying to climb the flimsy, young tree, the spruce swayed to one side. The weight of the cub bowed the tree, arching it over the den. The cub’s back feet lost their precarious grasp on the branches, and he dangled by his front paws, hanging into the den hole. Softly he dropped out of sight. He was inside for only a matter of seconds before springing from the den to play again with his waiting sibling!