People Show Up for Polar Bear Week, But the Ice Hasn’t

Polar Bear Week has arrived, but the polar bears of Canada’s Hudson Bay are still stuck on land. Each fall, thousands of polar bears migrate to the bay to wait for sea ice to form, making up the largest concentration of these animals in the world. Polar Bear Week was created by Polar Bears International to celebrate this annual migration and draw attention to the sea ice that in recent years, has appeared later and later in the season. It’s also an opportunity to educate people about climate change and inspire them to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to Chief Scientist Steve Amstrup at Polar Bears International, there’s hardly any ice in the Hudson Bay as of yet. “They can only catch their food—which is mainly two species of seals—from the ice.” Amstrup has researched polar bears for 30 years, and is currently in Manitoba. “A lot of people don’t understand that polar bears depend on the sea ice for food,” he says. “This time last year we hadn’t seen anything close to 0 °F,” Amstrup recalls. “We’re hoping that that means the bears are going to be able to get out on the ice sooner than they did last year.” But he emphasizes that we shouldn’t get too excited about seasonal variations when the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else. Polar Bear International partners with explore.org to operate a number of webcams through which bear lovers worldwide can watch the sleepy polar bears wait for ice.
Ice is forming later than it used to in Canada’s Hudson Bay

The wait is over—at least for some of us. Polar Bear Week has arrived, but the polar bears of Canada’s Hudson Bay are still stuck on land.

Each fall, thousands of polar bears migrate to the bay to wait for sea ice to form, making up the largest concentration of these animals in the world. Polar Bear Week was created by Polar Bears International to celebrate this annual migration and draw attention to the sea ice that in recent years, has appeared later and later in the season. It’s also an opportunity to educate people about climate change and inspire them to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Chief Scientist Steve Amstrup at Polar Bears International, there’s hardly any ice in the Hudson Bay as of yet. “The bears are still waiting on shore for that ice to freeze,” Amstrup says. “They can only catch their food—which is mainly two species of seals—from the ice.”

Amstrup has researched polar bears for 30 years, and is currently in Manitoba. He estimates that the bears there haven’t eaten in 150 days. “A lot of people don’t understand that polar bears depend on the sea ice for food,” he says….

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