DAVE SANDFORD SIGNATURE SERIES IMAGE EDITION OF 20 [Signed and Framed]
The image was created on October 29th, 2021, along the rocky shoreline of Western Hudson Bay. This polar bear seemed to have a sigh as it patiently waited for the sea ice to form. It truly was an intimate and emotional encounter. In the waning moments of daylight, this bear who had wandered in our direction, decided to settle down on the tundra right next to us. Sheltered from the North winds coming off the bay, the bear got comfortable. Over the course of about 45 minutes the bear repositioned itself several times and had many different expressions, making me ponder what the bear was truly thinking and going through. At this point in the year, the bears either should be out on the freshly formed sea ice hunting for their staple prey, ringed seals. If not on the ice at this point, excitement is normally in the air for the bears, because the ice is forming.
However, there was no sign of winter, no sign of the ocean freezing over, meaning no chance of the possibility of a meal on the horizon. Polar bears rely on the platform of sea ice in order to be able to hunt for their food. Nearing the end of October, it had now been 156 days since the last of the sea ice broke up in Western Hudson Bay. That would mean, that most bears, including this bear, likely have not had a solid meal in over 5 months. Polar bears eat the calorie rich seals when out on the ice and live off of those reserves through the lean summer months. The problem is that the time between the sea ice breaks up in spring and the sea ice forming in fall is becoming a much longer period of time. In fact, since the early 1980’s there are now an average of 33 more days in the year without sea ice, and that number is continually climbing.
Through scientific research, we have learned that the threshold for polar bears to sustain themselves without food is 180 days. When that benchmark of 180 days without food is reached, it would start to have hugely negative impacts on the population. Certainly, a scary thought. (Eventually, the sea ice formed in and about day 168, the polar bears of the Western Hudson Bay region were able to get out on the ice to start hunting seals.) As I sat with this bear, I often lowered my camera from my face, to look the bear in the eyes. I couldn’t help but think how our kind, the human race, have put this bear (and many others) into this position, with our ever-warming climate.
Captured on tour with Discover Churchill under permit. Thank you, DC, for all you do for us clients, for your professionalism and ethics.
As a proud Ambassador for Polar Bears International (PBI) and advocate for the Arctic, 10% of each print sold will be donated to Polar Bears International for polar bear research and development. PBI are working closely with various partners as well as various research and development teams from around the globe. With the warming climate, we will potentially have more human bear conflict.
One of the key R&D projects being developed are various forms of early radar detection, designed specifically to detect polar bears. This will keep communities safe and help prevent the unnecessary, premature death of bears. This is just one example of many ways in which the funds raised from donations benefit both polar bears and communities in the North.
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Dave Sandford's Conservation Mission
As a Polar Bear International Ambassador, I proudly donate 10% of my polar bear photography print sales to support and aid in Polar Bear conservation.
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