Walk on the Ocean (2021)
Walk on the Ocean (2021)
DAVE SANDFORD SIGNATURE SERIES IMAGE EDITION OF 20 [Signed and Framed]
While on assignment with Polar Bears International (PBI) in the late fall of 2021, onboard PBI’s tundra buggy – Buggy 1, I spotted a couple of tiny ‘polar dots’ in the distance. I knew with one dot being significantly smaller, that it was a mom and her cub approaching our direction. We were out along the coastline of Western Hudson Bay at a location about 30 km east of Churchill, Manitoba, called Gordon Point. At this time of the year, Gordon Point is an area that seems to attract a decent number of male bears, large male bears! Today was no exception, just over my shoulder, there were plenty of large male bears scattered across the tundra. Male polar bears can and will attack polar bear cubs, it is typically to either take the cub out, so it can potentially mate with the female or desperate bears who are very hungry. It was only about an hour earlier we had witnessed a poor orphaned cub running for his little life as two adult male bears pursued him. He managed to escape any danger in this instance. I unfortunately do not know the fate of the orphan cub, as this was the last time I was able to lay eyes on him. Back to our mom and cub pictured here, because so many male bears were on land, mom had to lead her little one past Gordon Point by way of the ocean. The tide had come in a number of hours earlier, with temperatures having dropped well below the freezing point, the shallow tidal waters froze fairly quickly that day. This made for a perfect path for both mom and cub to go far and wide from the coastline and avoid the dangerous male bears on shore. As the family got closer, I commented to a colleague how I had never in my life seen such a dirty polar bear cub! From a slight distance it almost appeared to the naked eye that it was a mother polar bear with a grizzly bear cub! Clearly, that was not the case, simply, very dirty, mud covered little one! The appearance of the little cub put smiles on our faces. Shortly before the image you see here was captured, the two had paused for a snow bath, so the little cub was a tiny bit cleaner by the time they were strolling past us on Buggy 1. The cub here would have been born somewhere about 11 months prior, polar bear cubs will stay with their mothers on average for about 2.5-3 years. During this time, mom will teach her cub(s) all the survival skills they need to make it in life. Should they make it long enough for mom to “kick them out” they have a good chance at survival and one day, creating a family of their own.
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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