Polar Bear Jail!


After our charter flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, we had a short bus ride out to the Polar Bear Jail. This is where they keep the "naughty" Polar Bears that get too close to town and which could eventually result in undesirable human-bear interaction. They are humanely trapped and put in jail (officially called the Polar Bear Rehabilitation Center) and are released after the Hudson Bay has frozen over and then they naturally head North away from Churchill. However, the jail does fill to capacity; "Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200" ... so periodic Polar Bear relocations are made via helicopter.

Our Bus parked in front of the Polar Bear Jail - mouseover images to see closeup

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Yes, "bad" Polar Bears really are put in "jail" here - then helicopter'ed out of town

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We actually saw a transfer shortly after our arrival in Churchill
You can also take a Helicopter Tour to see the Polar Bears.

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And needless to say, a Polar Bear Trap is pretty darn big!

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Betsy, Will, and Jan could all easily fit inside a Polar Bear trap

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After four days at the Tundra Lodge, we had a few hours in the town of Churchill, Canada before we leaving and saw the Polar Bear Alert Patrol scare a Bear out of town. If a Polar Bear comes into town, residents know to call a 24-hour hotline to report it and then the Manitoba Conservation Officers deal with - typically using "cracker shotgun shells" to scare the bear away. If that does not work (or if a repeat offender), the Polar Bear is tranquilized and taken to jail. Fortunately, the vast majority of Polar Bears we saw on our trip were elsewhere! ;-)

Manitoba Conservation Officer is seen from the bus

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Running toward the Polar Bear - Hudson Bay in the background

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The Polar Bear doubled back along the shoreline

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Firing Cracker Shotgun Shell to shoo the Polar Bear away

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Checking to make sure Polar Bear has left - mouseover images to see heading back

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One last look to make sure the Polar Bear hasn't turned around

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And then it's back in the truck ready for the next Polar Bear Alert

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Meanwhile, back at the Polar Bear Jail, Rinie tosses a snowball at the cameraman saying it is time to go!

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All back in the bus and driving alongside Hudson Bay out to the Tundra

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Everybody is really excited for our next ground transportation - the Polar Rover!

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After another short bus drive, we are dropped off right next to our Polar Rover to head out on the Tundra.
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