Photo and story by Quent Plett, Churchill Wild Polar Bear Guide
This photo above was taken near Seal River Heritage Lodge in August of 2017 and marks only the second time in our history that we’ve seen polar bear triplets!
It was a windy summer day on the coast of Hudson Bay. The waters were too rough for a marine excursion, so I decided to take the BBC film crew I was guiding down the coast by ATV to the mouth of the Seal River. We loaded our gear and equipment, eagerly anticipating the day’s wildlife encounters.
We were about halfway to the river when we spotted a familiar whitish form resting on a grassy island in the inter tidal, a few hundred metres away. We raised our binoculars and confirmed our suspicions: it was, indeed, a polar bear. As we looked closer, we noticed a second, smaller furry bundle, nestled in close to mama’s side.
We gathered our gear and started hiking towards the bears. Once we were within about 100 metres, the crew began setting up their gear, eager to film the bears when they awoke. As we observed them, they began to stir, shifting positions to reveal a second cub. With cameras rolling the trio shifted again, and, to our amazement, a third cub appeared!
We watched in wonder as they played, the cubs tussling and climbing over mom. We had front row seats to nature’s theatre!
After an hour or so had passed, mom decided it was time to round up her three little ones and began to wander north along the water’s edge, right toward Seal River Heritage Lodge. We notified the lodge to be on the lookout for this adorable troupe, headed their way.
The film crew and I continued our adventure to the mouth of the river and filmed more bears there. We returned to the lodge later that day, just in time to watch mom and her triplets approach the lodge, giving guests and staff an amazing pre-dinner show!
This photo appears in our recently published Churchill Wild 25th Anniversary Book, which features a number of images from our polar bear lodges that include “The Story Behind the Photo” as provided by the photographer.
Copies of Churchill Wild — 25 Years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast are now available online at McNally Robinson Booksellers and at our head office. There are also a limited number of copies available at our lodges from July through November, during our polar bear walking safaris. For more information please call 1.866.UGO.WILD (846.9453) or email [email protected].