Baby Steps

Nunavut

My guide and I were glassing from a high hill looking for polar bears hunting on the Arctic Ocean. In the distance, I detected something yellow against the white background, which is how polar bears appear in the snow. It was just a speck in the distance, then a smaller speck in front of it - two bears! This was the first mother bear and cub that I had experienced on the ice of the Arctic Ocean. I had experienced them in Churchill before, but this was the first one in Nunavut with David, my Inuit guide. It was an exciting moment! Despite being completely exhausted, we headed out on snow machines to get a little closer. The light was getting low, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity. Mother bear was hunting for seals, and the little cub was following along, catching up to her periodically. At one point the cub stood on his hind legs. Using his front paws for balance, he actually took a couple of steps. Polar bears don't walk that way, so I witnessed a very uncommon behaviour. Mother bear was looking back at him, maybe wondering what he was doing. I entitled this image "Baby Steps", as it seemed like he was learning to take his first upright steps. 

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