by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild
Wow, did we have a great breakfast encounter!
Our group of tuckered out carpenters had a little extra sleep, and our 9 a.m. Sunday breakfast was well deserved after many long hours of hard work on the new guest accommodations at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.
The sun was shining and there was a light breeze from the east at 9:20 a.m. when Shelby spotted a young polar bear through the scope. The bear was wandering westward down the coast at a fair pace and following the tide line.
At the same time, Mike Sigurdsson noticed a nice black wolf wandering on a sandbar moving eastward towards the Lodge. Someone at the table said, “I wonder what will happen if they meet?”
We found out!
The wolf spotted the bear first and immediately turned and ran 100 metres in the opposite direction. He then stopped for a look. The bear continued to wander west, getting closer by the minute. Then the wolf decided to try a different tactic and bolted straight towards the young stocky white bear.
To everyone’s surprise the polar bear darted and ran straight north into the depths of Hudson Bay. The last we saw of the bear was a swimming white bum heading north.
We decided that one of two things must have happened. First, bears are believed to have a great memory, and this one may have had a previous run-in with a pack of wolves. Second, this bear may have known something we didn’t. The rest of the pack may have been hiding in the willows ready to back up their leader.
Polar bears live in an unforgiving environment and even a small injury could lead to an untimely death, so it’s possible the bear just decided that running (and swimming) away were the safest actions at the time.
He was fat and very healthy after a long winter of eating seals, and a meal at this time of year was not high on the priority list, especially not a wolf…
with an ambush in the waiting.