Every year an estimated 1,000 polar bears linger outside the small Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can start their annual migration. To give Internet viewers a window onto the Arctic scene, a Bozeman, Mont., nonprofit organization is streaming the action live.
Polar Bears International has placed high-definition cameras onto a lodge and a wildlife-viewing vehicle run by Frontiers North Adventures, an adventure-travel company that organizes trips to see the migration. The cameras provide two live streams.
The Hudson Bay has usually been frozen by the second week of November, but last year it didn’t freeze until a month later, a sign of the Arctic warming that threatens polar bears, says Barbara Nielsen, a spokeswoman for Polar Bears International.
“Every week they’re delayed getting onto the sea ice, they’re having to use their fat reserves,” she says. “They’re being stretched to the limit.”
Polar Bears International hopes that people will get involved when they see the animals in their native environment.
“We want them to be inspired, of course, by the beauty of these animals and how magnificent they are,” says Ms. Nielsen. “But we want them to take action on reducing their own carbon footprint and working within their communities on projects that will reduce carbon dioxide.”
The Annenberg Foundation, in Los Angeles, made a $50,000 grant to support the project and features Polar Bear Cam on its Explore.org Web site.