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"The polar bear inched closer to us, catching our scents and curiously staring directly into our eyes..." ~ Dax Justin

“The polar bear inched closer to us, catching our scents and curiously staring directly into our eyes…” ~ Dax Justin

Photo and story by Dax Justin

Editor’s Note: Dax Justin walked the tundra with polar bears on the Hudson Bay coast while on assignment with Canadian Geographic in 2017. He was taking part in the Great Ice Bear Adventure at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. His story below describes what it was like to meet a polar face-to-face at ground level.

The polar bear inched closer to us, catching our scents and curiously staring directly into our eyes… I stood still, completely awakened to the fact that I was experiencing something deeply profound.

I’ve always been asked, “Were you nervous when the bears approached you? Were you scared, what did that feel like!?” I had to think about my answer long and hard and to be honest, the moment doesn’t belong to you — it belongs to the bear. Once your eyes connect you’re feelings are gone, you are TAKEN by the presence of this wild animal.

Though your senses are acute, you’ve just entered a new world that is shared with the bear. Primal. Survival. Completely sensory. I felt connected, alert, totally at peace. This is a feeling you won’t find on any other polar bear adventure, it was a transformative experience to trek the Arctic tundra with our Canadian polar bears.

About Dax Justin

Dax Justin is a Canadian Explorer, Adventure Photographer and Canon Canada Ambassador, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (FRCGS), Contributor to Canadian Geographic, National Geographic Certified Educator, Branding Specialist and TEDx Speaker based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Dax’s photos and stories are focused on connecting humans back to nature. His work lives at the intersection of humans and our natural ecosystems; as his photographic work is concerned with wildlife conservation, ecotourism, ocean health and human impact on the environment, the youth vs. technology, and indigenous culture. Dax is also the creator of the Explore in School (EiS) youth initiative and the Smartphone Pro Mobile-Photo Workshop.


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