Dramatic Video of Polar Bears of Churchill

Posted by Kathy Klofft

Photographs by Jeffrey Klofft

Video by Cathy D

One of the most dramatic moments I have ever had watching wildlife occurred while I was in Churchill Manitoba in early November on a Natural Habitat trip, when a mother polar bear led her cubs fleeing, just feet away, past our polar rover. She was trying to put some distance between them and a huge male bear headed their way.  I've been blessed to see many animals in their wild, natural setting, but the drama of seeing polar bears interacting with and responding to each other on the tundra in Northern Canada was one of the most exciting wildlife trips we've been able to experience. So you can imagine the tiny bit of heartbreak I felt when I realized on my second full day of "safari", I had left my iphone with the video camera on the charger in my hotel room.  I'm sure any of you who have 'lost" photos on your phone or forgot to take your camera to an important event probably knows what this feels like...an opportunity lost, regret at not being able to capture the moment forever.

Our blog post with more photos about this encounter with the bears can be read here, if you have not seen it:

Polar Bear Mama Drama

Of course, seeing these amazing sights with my own eyes is an incredible privilege and I would never let the photography get in the way of the experience, but re-living the experience through photos and videos and sharing it with others is a large part of the joy of the experience.  So far, we have shared our polar bear adventures with all of Natural Habitat's Twitter followers, a local GFWC Woman's club and upcoming, we will present to a class of first graders and possibly the Woman Working for Oceans group.  So our photos, videos and stories not only spark our memories but also, hopefully, the curiosity and engagement of people young and old who can make a difference in protecting the environment that both we and the polar bears depend on for life. 

As I prepared for the first presentation, I emailed the others from our tour group with Natural Habitat and asked if anyone may have captured the dramatic mother and cubs moment on video.  We had already shared every one of my husbands images with our whole group...he had the biggest lens and the most experience with a camera, so each day on the tundra, our group affectionately referred to him as the "official photographer", and made sure he was positioned to get great photos to share with the whole group.  So I was delighted when Cathy D, a member on our tour from Michigan, immediately emailed me with video from the exact moment I had requested- that dramatic escape by the mother bear and young cubs. 

Words can't really describe the delight I felt when I saw her video and remembered the thrill of this encounter in the wild. As I share it here I am reminded of this about travel...good karma is good karma, sharing with fellow travelers and the locals we visit is it's own reward, but sometimes it rewards us back in ways we couldn't have anticipated! Thank you Cathy D for sharing this memorable encounter on the tundra with us, both in real life and by sharing this video with all of us!