Monday, April 30, 2007

bye-bye, bears?

Climate change is threatening the polar bears of western Hudson Bay and the tourism industry of Churchill, Manitoba (population: 923), which depends heavily on the furry, photogenic beasts.

A female polar bear snuggles up with her twin cubs in Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Photograph by vmselde and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 License.

"Churchill is unique as a destination. It's where the sea-ice of western Hudson Bay freezes first, and the bears aggregate each fall, waiting," remarks John Gunter, Marketing Director of Frontiers North Adventures.

Because the polar bear population of western Hudson Bay effectively funnels through Churchill, for about six weeks of every year, the no-frills, northern outpost offers tourists unmatched wildlife viewing opportunities. Small wonder, then, that the tundra township can unabashedly declare itself as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World."

However, going forward, whether Churchill will still have its claim to fame may be in question.

Click here, for the full story at

Do you recall about three months ago, we reported here on starfish and waffles that I would be enrolling in Amanda Castleman's online travel writing course so I could learn to impersonate a travel writer? Well, in an unexpected and ironic twist of fate, the first gig I landed upon graduation was writing the polar bear story above for the Ethical Traveler News Team. Isn't that hilarious? An imposter, like myself, writing for Trust me, folks, you simply can't make stuff like this up.


  1. it is sad to think that there might not be any more polar bears. :(

    I'm on my way now to read the rest of the article...

  2. Well done, Felix!

    You have graduated from being a mere Imposter to being an Ethical Imposter. Kudos!

    (By the way, greetings from Portland where I am currently posing as a backpacker. But let me be quite clear: I am an Ethical backpack Poser:))

  3. Katie ... yeah, that definitely is sad ... I hope the bears are still there when I finally get the chance to go to Churchill.

    -c ... thanks! I'm very proud to be an Ethical Imposter. But, honestly, I really don't know where to go from here. And, Portland ... cool! Just there on a holiday or are you relocating your homebase?

  4. I hadn't contemplated the bear connection until now...

    Ethical, my @ss. I think the reporter had an ursine agenda!

    But still, well done. Hope to see more. Ax.

  5. C'mon Amanda, it's possible to have an ethical ursine agenda! (Haha, "ursine" ... what a great word).

    And thanks. I hope there'll be more, too.