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Cute polar bear cub sticking tongue out at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge (

Cuteness in the trees at Nanuk. (

Note: This year, Christoph and Fabienne Jansen of will reach their 30th departure with Churchill Wild. They are currently at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for back-to-back departures of both the Nanuk Emergence Quest and the Cloud Wolves of the Kaska Coast safari and are providing us with weekly updates and photos. This is their second wildlife update of 2024 for Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. You can see all of their updates from Nanuk for spring 2024 at the end of this post, and they’ll be back with more from Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in the fall. Thank you Christoph and Fabienne!

by Christoph Jansen

Yesterday was the big day! We finally saw the mom and her cub. Scouts Adam (Guide Adam Reimer) and Ben (Lodge Manager Ben Lawrence)  had first seen tracks of a mom and a single cub two days earlier. However, the forest was so thick in that area, that they couldn’t get to them. But even just hearing that there were tracks was really exciting.

So we got up early the next day and drove about two hours west. We made camp close to the Menahook River awaiting news from our scouts. We set up our tent and collected wood for a nice campfire. That way, even the brutally cold -45°C with windchill didn’t feel that bad.

In the afternoon, we had to realize that this would probably not be the day. The mom and her cub were still in a heavily wooded area that we could not get into. So we packed up and made our way back to the lodge.

The next morning, we took off from the lodge before sunrise, and before breakfast. The plan was to set up again somewhere in the general area where the bears were believed to be. We brought our breakfast with us and ate it in the field. Just after that, we received exciting news from our scouts. They had finally been able to get a glimpse of the mom and her cub. But the trees were still too thick for us to get closer to them.

Polar bear mom and cub watching guests through the trees. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. photo.

Mom watching us through the trees. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. (

In order to be ready as quickly as possible if the bears started to move, we too moved our camp a bit closer to the now confirmed position. After enjoying another meal and campfire in the field, we finally got the news we were hoping for: mom and cub had moved to a location where we could possibly get a clear view of them.

We loaded all the guest onto snowmobiles, leaving the usual means of transportation, the traditional komatiks, behind. We drove about 5 km through willows, tamarack forests and treelines until we caught up with our scouts, Ben and Adam. One more short walk and we would be able to see them!

The forest the mom and cub were hiding in was still pretty dense, but we had a few good viewing angles from where we could see and photograph them without disturbing them. Mom was huge and also her single cub was bigger than usual, which we found encouraging. We watched them sleeping, playing, even the cub chewing on mom’s paws.

Polar bear cub chewing on mom's paw at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. (

Cub chewing on mom’s paw at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. (

This experience was well worth the long hours and days in the cold. It’s hard not to get tears in your eyes when seeing something so unique and special.

Finally, the light started to fade and knowing we still had a two hour drive back to the lodge, we had to start making our way back. We would try to see them again the next day. At an even colder -50°C with windchill, we’ll be leaving the lodge an hour before sunrise. Fingers crossed!

More on Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge from Christoph and Fabienne Jansen of

Mom and Cub at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

The World's Greatest Arctic Safari

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