Black-Faced Polar Bears

Resolute Bears 01

Well… I haven’t actually discovered a new breed of bears. Rather, whilst on Court circuit to the tiny community of Resolute Bay last week, I just happened to encounter the filthiest group of polar bears I have yet seen…

Although I have been visiting Resolute about 3 times a year for the last 13 years, I have only given it a brief mention in my blog pages thus far. Not only is it the second-most northerly community on the whole continent, it is probably the most-busy ‘bear-wise’ in the territory. I promise that, sometime soon, I will get around to featuring the community itself in a more detailed post but for now I thought I would share my most recent bear encounter.

In a decade and a half up here, I have seen Polar bears many times but usually only one at a time. On this occasion, I saw nine in the space of about twenty minutes… 

Resolute Bears 02

The source of the dirty-faces is apparent in this picture. Someone, rather stupidly, I would say, burnt a heap of garbage on the beach about a kilometer from my hotel and, quite naturally, it attracted some bears even though the pile was still smoldering in places.

Resolute Bears 03

There were 7 bears nosing through the rubbish when I arrived in one of the local RCMP cruisers but all but one decamped immediately. These three just ambled off a few hundred meters and then slumped down to await our departure.

Resolute Bears 04

This mother with two young decided not to wait and headed off across the sea-ice. There were also two other (much cleaner) bears off in the distance near a patch of open water but they were a little too far away for a decent picture.

Resolute Bears 05

Here is a final shot of the bear who remained. He did walk off a ways after our approach and tried to open a container of some sort. When he couldn’t, he went back and continued to nose around in the smoldering heap and mostly ignored us. Sometime, I will try and post some pictures of bears that are just a little more pristine. I actually have some lovely close-up video footage of a bear my wife and I filmed from a boat a number of years ago and, once I figure out how to edit it down to a manageable size, I will post that too…


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