A Day on the Tundra in Support of Assiniboine Park Conservancy

One Day Churchill Polar Bear Adventure in support of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy is a success for the third year in a row.

A group of eager travelers arrive in Churchill around 10 AM anxious to get a glimpse of the iconic polar bear. Every trip to Churchill is amazing whether it’s your first time visiting this remote town or your hundredth. However this trip is even more special. It’s the third year in a row that Frontiers North Adventures is hosting a One Day Churchill Polar Bear Adventure in support of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC). So far Frontiers North has donated over $14,000 to APC through this one-day trip.

After a few moments of fiddling with jacket zippers, gloves, and toques (or winter hats non-Canadians) the large group of travelers from around the world, plus one very special guest Dr. Stephen Petersen, board a comfortable warm bus excited for adventure.

Dr. Stephen Petersen, Head of Conservation and Research at Assiniboine Park Zoo is joining the lucky guests on this one-day excursion to Churchill, Manitoba, Polar Bear Capital of the World. For each guest on this tour, Frontiers North Adventures is donating $200 to Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Once the group arrives at Tundra Buggy® launch they board Tundra Buggy number 16 ready to start their day. After a brief orientation by the Buggy driver Brendan, the Tundra Buggy begins to trundle away from launch and onto the rough terrain of the tundra.

The high winds and driving snow means polar bears are hunkered down, protecting their black noses from the offensive weather. After spotting two snowy owls, an eagle, and some snow buntings the group breaks for lunch. Soon after the group spots the first polar bear in the distance, standing on its hind legs checking out a mobile lodge on the tundra. At this point special guest Dr. Stephen Petersen begins to discuss his research on polar bears and other arctic wildlife.

“One of the research projects that we’re involved in is looking at polar bear denning. One of the interesting things that we can learn is, ‘Do polar bears come back to the same areas, same dens?’ So instead of tagging animals we’re trying to do it non-invasively so that means going out and looking for little packets of wrapped information in the form of polar bear poo that is out near the den. Moms, cubs, whoever was there will leave some hair and DNA in the form of poo and we pick it up.”

His description of his research gets a good chuckle from the guests on the Tundra Buggy. Another traveler from Winnipeg asks about his experiences with polar bears in captivity.

“At the zoo, we have so many polar bears. Whenever we have a research product that requires us to know whose poo is whose, that’s when we feed them glitter.”

The group laughs and asks a few more follow up questions. After a round of applause the Tundra Buggy starts rolling again. Radio chatter from other Tundra Buggies indicates another possible wildlife setting near First Tower. The Buggy gets positioned near a pond directly across from a sleeping giant, the second polar bear of the day.

As the sun begins to set guests snap the last photos of the day. The guests are sleepily content as the Buggy rocks and rolls across the tundra beginning the trek back to launch. As the guests depart for the airport everyone is satisfied knowing that their polar bear experience will support polar bear research and arctic conservation at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Stay tuned for next year's adventure in support of APC.

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