Around 3,000 polar bears call the Barents Sea region of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) home. In Norway, polar bears are comforted by the fact they are legally protected against hunting and sightings are common throughout summer when food is plentiful in the form of seals, migratory birds and their eggs; and when in luck, a delicious whale carcass or two!
Greenland is a vast area of stunning beauty, where polar bears elusively roam between enormous glaciers, Antarctic-sized bergs and the deepest fjords in the world. This territory is vast and Inuit culture has long depended on hunting bears for traditional subsistence. Polar bears are sighted regularly onboard our Spitsbergen to North East Greenland Voyages. Sightings are possible, but not probable for East Greenland expedition cruises.
Wrangel, in remote Arctic Siberia, was the last refuge of the woolly mammoth and a place where Pacific walruses line the beach, musk oxen dot the hillsides and the polar bear can sometimes be seen in prolific numbers having a whale of a time. We will let this Siberian Times Article provide the incentive to join a Wrangel Expedition in 2019 and 2020 - especially 05 - 19 August, 2019 which will be hosted by multi award-winning BBC and National Geographic wildlife producers and directors, Neil Nightingale and Karen Bass (click HERE for details).
FRANS JOSEF LAND
Frans Josef Land is emerging as primate Russian Polar bear territory, which until only recently was closed to visitors. Dependability of ice year-round (85% covered) makes this a significant denning area for pregnant females, supporting 3 times more bears than neighbouring Spitsbergen. The bountiful waters surrounding its 136 or so islands provide food for not only the polar bear population, but the walruses, seals, whales and birdlife that reside here.
Canada is a vast Arctic territory with an estimated two thirds of the world's polar bears, but whose populations continue to feel pressure from climate change. Throughout their lives, polar bears travel great distances to breed, den, and feed. Mothers and cubs have been recorded as swimming up to 500km and here is a shot of such a flotilla passing our expedition ship in Baffin Island, where many polar bears are seen.
In 2015 the IUCN predicted that by 2050 a third of polar bear populations could be lost to climate change - all part of the reason why Aqua-Firma has always offset the carbon emissions of guests' polar voyages and flights booked with us. For details please visit our Rainforest4Climate page.