The polar bear is the main attraction for many visitors hoping to observe the ‘King of the Arctic’ in its natural habitat. The small town of Churchill on the edge of Hudson Bay is one of the few human settlements where it is possible to see polar bears in the wild, and there are an estimated 900 to 1,000 bears in this population. The best time of year to see these magnificent creatures is between October and November as they wait on the tundra for the “Big Freeze”, ready to begin the seal-hunting season. Polar bears here are relatively fearless of humans, so your chances of encountering them on one of our specialist expeditions is very high. In the Spring, you may also have the chance to see newborn cubs, as they emerge from their dens for the first time and take their first tentative steps into the frozen wilderness.
This stark yet fascinating environment is not only home to the great white bears, you can also witness wolves, caribou, Arctic foxes, beaver, pine marten and numerous bird species as you traverse the icy terrain. Nunavut archipelago, which includes Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island and Victoria Island, covers an expanse of 2.2 million square kilometres, which collectively comprises one fifth of Canada and is a kaleidoscope of deep fjords, mountains and snowy expanses. During the summer months, the ice melts and the tundra becomes carpeted with colourful flowers, making this the best time to see large herds of caribou which come to feed on the summer grasses as they prepare for their migration.
During migration, caribou can form herds of up to 350,000 to travel thousands of kilometres across the tundra, a phenomenon which is best viewed from the air.