You may remember that last summer my son Lee Sessions was on a canoe expedition on the Lorillard River in arctic Canada when a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) surprised them
in their tent. These images show the curious bear turn into a predator. Initially the bearwho has retreated because of noise from the paddlers returns to the rivers edge. His
head is up and his ears are forward.
At some point his ears go back and he starts sniffing around.
He swims the river toward the camp. His ears are definitely back.
Now he is on high alert and intent. His head is down. His ears are back and he begins advancing.The following information is from Jim Gallagher, retired Us Forest Service biologist, who was on the trip with my son Lee.
The polar bear is the world's largest land predator. It combines the attributes of being immensely curious as well as being absolutely fearless. Because of this the polar bear
is respected, feared, and accepted as a part of life by the Inuit.Paddlers under these circumstances must be prepared for interaction. Possible ways to prepare for a bear surprise include posting a watch or having an electric fence. Once
contact has been made, possible deterrents include yelling, banging pots and pans, airhorns, bear bangers, and the use of pepper spray. Because this apex predator is fearless
and can be aggressive and dangerous, having firearms with non-lethal and lethal ammunition is important. Locals who live and work in polar bear country carry fire arms. In telling their
story to the local Inuit of the hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet Lee's group felt fortunate that no one in their group was injured. The Inuit heard the story in a very matter of fact way and couldn't
wait to tell their own polar bear stories.
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