Friday 24 February 2023

Witness the Wonder of Polar Bears in Churchill

#expeditioncruising .

On International Polar Bear Day, Natural Habitat Adventures Sheds Light on the Urgency of Conservation Amidst Declining Numbers

Newest Figures Show Population Diminishing, but Bear Viewing Remains Strong

With International Polar Bear Day coming up on Feb. 27, Natural Habitat Adventures is drawing attention to the King of the Arctic’s plight in a warming world.

A global leader in sustainable and conservation-focused tourism, Nat Hab has been taking visitors to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba—known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World—since 1989.

“Few animals are a more powerful symbol of wilderness and the fragility of our planet,” said Ben Bressler, Nat Hab’s president and founder. “When you see them up close in the wild, your heart soars. And you go home an ambassador for conservation, with a potent sense of what is at stake.”

For about six weeks each fall (mid-October through November), several hundred polar bears gather on the tundra outside the small subarctic town of Churchill, waiting for the sea ice to form. Atop the ice, they spend the winter hunting seals, their primary food source, staking out over seal breathing holes.

Yet Canada’s Western Hudson Bay population—one of the Arctic’s 19 distinct polar bear groups—has declined 27% in the last five years, according to a government assessment released at the end of last year.

With their future imperiled as shrinking sea ice shortens the bears’ hunting season, Churchill remains the best place to see them in the wild. And despite the decline in overall numbers, the bear-viewing experience has remained consistent and rewarding.Watch Nat Hab’s video: ‘Close Encounters with Polar Bears in Churchill | A Conservation Travel Experience

On a varied slate of six- and seven-day itineraries featuring the smallest tour groups in Churchill, Nat Hab takes travelers onto the tundra for delightful encounters with the world’s largest marine mammal. Custom Polar Rovers are designed to facilitate the closet possible experience in comfort and safety (check out Nat Hab’s video showcasing these unique vehicles). And with expert naturalist guides at the helm, visitors get in-depth interpretation that’s second-to-none.

“We may spy lone bears roaming, mothers teaching their cubs survival skills, and juvenile males play-fighting,” said Bressler. “And if you’re like me, you’ll never feel more alive than in those wondrous moments watching the bears.”

While polar bears are the primary focus, Nat Hab’s Churchill adventures include a mix of northern activities, including dog sledding on each trip, helicopter flight-seeing over the tundra, and engagement with local residents through cultural presentations on Indigenous heritage and Churchill’s fascinating history.

Each polar bear adventure begins and ends in Winnipeg, with easy flights from the U.S. on several airlines. Nat Hab then charters its own plane to fly guests to and from Churchill, to maximize time with the bears. Traveling with Nat Hab is 100% carbon-neutral: all flights and travel-related activity are totally offset, a practice the operator has led the industry in since becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company in 2007.

Committed to its mission of Conservation through Exploration, Nat Hab not only creates a legion of conservation ambassadors by educating its guests through immersive polar bear encounters, but also works closely with the Churchill community in supporting various programs and initiatives to help improve the lives of residents, the on-the-ground stewards of these bears.

In recent years, Nat Hab has provided community breakfasts to more than 250 Churchill residents and donated fresh produce, milk and groceries for school meals and community food share programs; it helped fund a cutting-edge hydroponic growing system for the Churchill Northern Studies Center, an independent nonprofit research and education facility; and it helped lead and facilitate enhancements to community recycling programs, especially related to its own operations and guest activities in and around Churchill.

Nat Hab’s Churchill Polar Bear Adventures include the following:

Canada’s Premier Polar Bear Adventure: The company’s flagship polar bear tour. In addition to regular departures, this six- or seven-day trip also features both women- only and special photography departures. Limited to 16 travelers / Priced from $7,495 per person.

The Ultimate Churchill Adventure: This seven-day expedition is Nat Hab’s most comprehensive encounter with the world of the polar bear and the Canadian North. It includes a helicopter flight to a vacant bear den, a dog sled ride through the boreal forest, and cultural activities with residents where guests learn about life on the Arctic frontier. Limited to 15 travelers / Priced from $9,995 per person.

Tundra Lodge Adventure: On this six- or seven-day adventure, stay directly on the tundra among the bears in the world’s most remarkable hotel. Set seasonally on the edge of Hudson Bay, the Tundra Lodge is a custom “train” of connected lounge car, dining car and private sleeping compartments that offers guests round-the-clock proximity to the bears and includes daily Polar Rover excursions. Limited to 29 travelers / Priced from $9,995 per person.

Tundra Lodge & Town Adventure: Combine the best of both worlds on this seven-day adventure! Spend two nights at Nat Hab’s exclusive Tundra Lodge, then another two nights in historic Churchill to enjoy cultural activities and a chance to meet and chat with locals who call this subarctic outpost home. Limited to 29 travelers / Priced from $9,995 per person.

Belugas, Bears & Summer Wildlife of Churchill: Few of nature’s marvels match the intense aliveness of an Arctic summer, when the tundra turns green, wildflowers burst into color, and animals come forth in great flocks and herds, including thousands of beluga whales that return to the Churchill River for summer feasting. And while polar bears aren’t the main focus in summertime, they are seen frequently, including from a scenic helicopter flight over the tundra and taiga forest. Limited to 14 travelers / Priced from $7,895 per person.

For more information on Nat Hab’s polar bear trips and its entire collection of nature journeys on all seven continents, visit

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