Thursday 10 February 2011

Kingdom of the Polar Bear: The West Australian

We cautiously exit the inflatable boat.

Ten at a time, we land on the pebbly beach, our guides already well ahead of us, scouting for sightings of the world's largest terrestrial carnivore.

The island of Spitsbergen, north of Norway, is one of just a handful of the remaining polar bear hotspots in the world.

With a world population of this majestic mammal possibly as low as 20,000, there is a real urgency among adventure travellers to see this creature in its native habitat.

Clutching loaded rifles, our guides are 100m ahead of us making sure we don't surprise any unseen or sleeping beasts.

Regulations require guides to carry loaded rifles and flare guns, but in over a decade of operation, Aurora's expedition staff have only ever fired two warning shots; a testament to good planning, careful observation and prompt action.

Read Full Story at The West Australian

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