Not to be reproduced without permission. To request syndication or reprint rights, contact Gary.

17 April 2014

The Three Bears

Generally I do my best to avoid polar bears. But recently I took time to watch, with my Zeiss 8 x 32 binoculars, a sow polar bear feeding with her cubs at close quarters. Binoculars are a vital Arctic kit item.

For instance, only with quality binoculars with superb clarity can colour and detail help determine a safe route. Looking for a route sometimes reveals something special, like a family of bears.

Using Zeiss binoculars.
I filmed the three bears.

Watch how one polar bear cub follows its mother and causes thin ice (grey) to undulate like a water-bed. Another cub sets off alone from an iceberg and instinctively spreads its weight to cross more thin ice safely. The last scene has one of the same cubs venture close. Its pads were as big as my chest. The black birds in the video are ravens.

I am of the opinion that all animals deserve respect not just the ones that have the potential to harm my dogs (or me).

When I lived in Arctic Canada there was always news of wolves killing sled dogs. Camped out either on tundra or sea ice, my dogs would never raise the alarm if a wolf pack was close by. All dog breeds derive from the wolf so it is not surprising the dog has no cause to fear them.

In Arctic Canada pristine white furred wolves would settle between my dogs. During the day wolves would follow and they would stop when we did. They moved with elegance but they were sly. At times they would howl. And there was rabies. I have only seen rabies once. It is horrific to witness and the death for the afflicted is terrible. Any mammal has the potential to contract and carry rabies. For that reason I have never been keen on hearing an incoming howling wolf pack.

Polar bears can be expected to be seen anywhere and at any time where I live now and journey with my dogs. But my dogs always raise the alarm. It happened five times last year and in July I filmed a polar bear that passed close by our house.

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com