In honor of Polar Bear Week and International Polar Bear Day, Nat Hab staffers are sharing their tales from the tundra of Churchill. Today, Kit Longnecker recalls a special memory from her recent polar bear trip that will stay with her forever.

polar bear yawning on Tundra in Churchill

A polar bear yawning out on the tundra – spotted on our first day on tundra. (c) Kit Longnecker

We parked our Polar Rover next to the Tundra Lodge where four polar bears were sleeping soundly in pairs. As the sun set over the vast tundra, we enjoyed wine and appetizers to celebrate our last night in Churchill.

In the fleeting moments of light, we stood on the back deck quietly observing the bears that were no more than 30 feet from the vehicle. These peaceful giants readjusted and rolled over, but were clearly enjoying their nap.

Two bears sleeping – spotted on our evening rover trip. (c) Kit Longnecker

Two bears sleeping – spotted on our evening rover trip. (c) Kit Longnecker

Our Expedition Leader, Sean Beckett, urged us to each take a moment, privately on the back deck, to fully take in the experience of our polar bear adventure. After dinner, I saw my opportunity to do just that.

I wandered onto the back deck, only to find some barely visible white highlights stirring amongst the willows. Two bears awoke from their slumber and began sparring. It was dark enough now that I could barely see their figures, but sight was not necessary to make this a most memorable experience.

In a private show, I watched heard those polar bears spar. Their massive paws smashing against each other’s thick fur. The exhausted panting and deep grunting. The boom of their heavy legs meeting the soft tundra again. Even now, it’s nearly impossible to accurately describe the sounds I heard that evening, but I can tell you that they will stay with me forever.


Guests watch two bears spar from the Tundra Lodge. (c) Kit Longnecker

Sometimes, the clearest and most memorable moments are not captured through a lens, or even with your eyes. No matter how you find that special moment, you are sure to have your own truly memorable nature experience on one of our polar bear tours.

Polar Bear Week

It’s heartbreaking to think that future generations may never get to experience the splendor Kit witnessed that week. Now, more than ever, is the time to act in order to save the polar bear habitat.

In honor of International Polar Bear Day on Feb 27, WWF-Canada has dedicated this week, Polar Bear Week, to raising awareness for WWF’s Arctic on-ground work to ensure that Arctic habitats are conserved for all ice-dependent species. If you want to help make a difference for polar bears, follow a few of these tips:

  • Consider symbolically adopting a polar bear! Your symbolic adoption supports WWF’s global efforts to protect and their habitats.
  • Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by following any of these green tips. These include practical tips such as moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer.
  • Raise awareness for polar bears in a number of ways, check out WWF’s How to Help page for more ideas on how to make the biggest difference.

And, if you book one of our polar bear tours by February 27–International Polar Bear Day–Nat Hab will make a symbolic polar bear adoption in your name! Call (800) 543-8917 or email to speak with an Adventure Specialist for more details.