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Science And Nature

Snoozing in flower beds? Behold the bears of summer

Published August 9, 2022

5 min read

You always seepolar bears on ice and snow, says photographer Martin Gregus, Jr. But its nothing like they stop surviving in the summer. Determined to reveal this less depicted angle on the bears, he constructed a field station on the trunk of a little boat and spent 33 days north of Churchill, Manitoba, in the summers of 2020 and 2021.

The more Gregus studied the bears, the more he learned of these personalities. There is the persistent cub he named Hercules. He lost a leg yet were able to survive his first two summers. A massive female, Wanda, appeared to be feared by other bears but spent her days doing yoga-like stretches in the fireweed. Another female, Wilma, were so more comfortable with Gregus that shed nurse her cubs, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, close enough for him to listen to their purring. Gregus also witnessed behaviors hed rarely seen before, such as for example bears grazing on plants and hunting tern chicks by chasing them in to the surf. For the present time, actions like those could be helping this polar bear population deal with the consequences of climate changebut others elsewhere are starving.

Most of these pictures show bears which are fat, healthy, and playful, Gregus says. So although from the global perspective everything could be going wrong for polar bears, obviously somethings going the following.

This story appears in the September 2022 problem of National Geographic magazine.

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