Good news update out of W Hudson Bay: fat polar bears are behaving themselves

Despite continued dire predictions of catastrophy, polar bears in Western Hudson Bay are behaving like the well-fed predators on holiday they are: bears are causing few problems in Churchill and poking around Arviat, seemingly out of curiousity rather than actively stalking prey.

Bears are chased out of Western Hudson Bay communities due to an abundance of caution but so far, no frightening encounters have been reported that I’ve heard about. That’s true elsewhere as well: an uneventful summer for polar bear attacks is good news indeed.

Problem Bears of Arviat

They have bear guards this time of year to run polar bears off, hopefully before they have a chance to cause trouble. The tweet below from Gordy Kidlapik yesterday (at 7:14 am local time, 3 October 2022) shows a bear in good condition poking around a house during a big wind storm near Arviat:

Chris Mikijuniak took this picture about 15 – 20 minutes ago. Musta been difficult to deter to bay water in this wind:

Churchill Problem Bears

While many of these weekly reports are missing since the first was issued the last week of July, the latest Churchill problem bear report, for week 9 ashore (19-25 September, second-last week of the month) is pretty boring, with only 1 bear needing to be physically handled in all that time:

Compare the above to 2016 at the same point, when week 9 for bears ashore was the second week in September. There was more bear activity that year but still not remarkable: as I said above, bears are moved out of town or harassed away from town out of an abundance of caution. Note that in 2016, freeze-up was quite late but the bears behaved well until the end, suggesting they were not suffering unduly despite the longer-than-usual fast because they came ashore in very good condition after an excellent spring feeding season.

Ice conditions

Freeze-up on Hudson Bay looks to be a ways off as the ice chart above shows, although forecasted temperatures overnight near Churchill are near freezing.

Note that the warmest on record it has been on this date (since 1943) was almost 21 degrees Celsius in 1962:

Highest temperature, 4 October (1943-2007): 20.6°C (1962)

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