A polar bear family near the Hudson Bay in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
© Marco Pozzi Photographer/Getty Image
Polar bear capital of the world. Polar bear capital of the world
Welcome to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, the self-proclaimed Polar Bear Capital of the World. Each year, about a thousand polar bears pass through the small town, outnumbering human residents. In October, the bears gather here to wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can venture out onto the ice to hunt for seals. The annual gathering of polar bears here is a big event for the residents of Churchill. They maintain a hotline for bear sightings and even run a polar bear 'jail' that temporarily holds 'pesky' bears to keep locals (and their food) safe.
For visitors who want to see polar bears on the ice floes, Churchill is home base for guided tours in protected tundra vehicles. Called Tundra Buggies, the cars can glide smoothly over ice and snow, providing a rare opportunity to get up close to the bears. Visitors may also spot other animals native to the Arctic, including caribou, foxes, and hares. And after the Arctic safari, when the sun goes down, this is an ideal place to sky-gaze at the northern lights.