Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Polar Bears and the Shrinking Ice (Yale Environment 360)

Polar Bear Patrol Gets Busy

Polar bears have long come ashore in Churchill, Manitoba, the self-styled ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World.’ But as summer sea ice steadily disappears in Hudson Bay, bears are being marooned on land for longer periods of time — and that is generating a lot of work for the Polar Bear Alert Team.

by ed struzik

Last Nov. 11, Jerry Cowley was fast asleep when he was wakened by the sound of someone violently banging on the front door of his bungalow in the Hudson Bay port town of Churchill, Manitoba. Thinking that it was his son coming home from a night at the bar, Cowley was going to scold him for losing his keys. Yet when he opened the door, Cowley was greeted not by his son, but by a large polar bear about to enter his living room.

“I told it to bug off!’” Cowley recalled the next day. “That’s the first time anyone has actually bugged off when I told them to.”

In the end, the bear did little damage to Cowley’s house. But he has since boarded up his porch, and his teenage daughter now sleeps in the attic. He’s also vowing never to answer the door again until he looks out the window to see who it is.

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