An estimated 1,000 polar bears linger outside the Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over around this time, every year.
Tourists flock to the town to see them.
But this year, cameras turned on the polar bears are also bringing a front row view of their annual migration to anyone with an Internet connection.
A group of philanthropic and animal welfare organizations have partnered to eventually set up a string of high-definition cameras in remote wilds to “allow people to observe the natural world we live in with the hope that they’ll develop emotional connections with the planet,” said Charlie Annenberg, a filmmaker and founder of explore.org who spearheaded the project.
His team affixed the first of them on the outskirts of Churchill this week, onto a roving “Tundra Buggy” that is used for transporting tourists, and on the edges of a lodge situated directly in the path of the age-old migration.
Harsh weather and wavering Internet connectivity in the far north proved to be a challenge.
But the video capturing the migration — which starts in the last week of October through the end of November — is now being streamed live on explore.org.
“The bears come here to wait for the Hudson’s Bay to freeze over so they can go out and hunt seals over the winter,” Annenberg told AFP by telephone from Churchill.
So far, he said, the project has captured video images of “a few male polar bears walking around and sleeping, and a female with two cubs.”
“It’s just started to snow here and in the coming days you’ll be able to watch the water in the bay actually freeze to ice and the bears walk off to begin their hunt 100 miles off the coast.”
Next, Annenberg hopes to point his cameras at the Aurora Borealis, tropical fish and other wildlife in remote parts of the world.