Friday, March 6, 2015

Have An Unforgettable Experience With Churchill Manitoba Polar Bear Tours

By Leslie Ball

One of the most unforgettable and life-changing experiences you can have is to see an endangered species in its natural habitat. Getting to know these creatures will make you more committed to doing your bit to help save them. With Churchill Manitoba polar bear tours, for instance, you get to see one of a species whose survival is in grave danger because of global warming.

The Canadian town of Churchill has fewer than a thousand inhabitants and used to be a center for the fur trade. Nowadays its main source of income is ecotourism. People come from all over to this little Arctic outpost on Hudson Bay to see a range of animals.

For most visitors, the main reason to come to Churchill is to see polar bears. In the fall, these bears converge on the peninsula on which the town is located. They wait here for Hudson Bay's waters to freeze over, which will create their favorite hunting ground. Tour agents offer bear-sighting trips in special vehicles for traversing the ice during this time.

The best time to go see the beautiful white bears is in October or in early November. This is when most of the animals come to the peninsula to wait for the bay to freeze over. Later in winter they go onto the ice to hunt and you'll have to travel further to see them. However, you can even spot some bears in the warmer months, even though this is best done by boat or helicopter. Choose your helicopter pilot carefully because you don't want the animals to be stressed.

A very important thing to remember is that polar bears are not cuddly animals. They're carnivores and are extremely dangerous. Don't venture out on your own and always follow the locals' advice on the areas that are unsafe. During your tour, stay in the vehicle at all times and don't feed the animals.

Apart from the magnificent bears, the town also has other attractions to offer anybody with a love of nature. Its northerly location means that it's a good place to come and see the Northern Lights, which are more visible in winter. In summer, visitors are drawn to the beluga whales that come to the area to calf. It's a bird-watching paradise too, with more than a hundred species coming here to nest.

Churchill is quite remote and there is no road into town. There is a port but traveling in by ship not really a viable option because of ice for a large part of the year. However, you can travel to the town by train from either Winnipeg or Thompson. There are daily flights from both these cities too.

Churchill's tour operators offer a variety of themed outings. In many cases you can go online and book in advance, which is essential if you're planning on visiting during the high season. Before you book, compare the different operators and read reviews about them. This way you can choose one that is not only environmentally responsible but will also make your safety a priority.

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