Manitoba conservation officials have stumbled across a pleasant surprise — a large number of polar bear dens along the Hudson Bay coast near the Ontario boundary.
The dens lie in an area southeast of Wapusk National Park and east of the Nelson River. It’s a region along the southern end of the polar bear’s range and not as well-known as Wapusk, Churchill and other areas to the north.
“We’ve always known that there are dens in there … but not to this extent,” said Daryll Hedman, the regional wildlife manager for northeast Manitoba.
“We have a fairly large number of denning females in there, equal to or even maybe surpassing Wapusk National Park, so it’s fairly exciting news.”
Female polar bears dig the dens in the ground to give birth. The discovery could be a sign that the polar bear population in the area is in good shape, at least for now. The province is beginning a three-year study to get more detail.
Polar Bear Blog – New Polar Bear Denning Area Located Along Hudson Bay
Well, its sort of new anyway… for years, Churchill polar bear folk have talked about a denning area east of the Nelson River, at the Manitoba-Ontario border. Manitoba Conservation has known that one exists but until now, the size of it has only been guessed at.
This summer, researchers confirmed that not only is there an active maternity denning area in Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Area (south of Wapusk National Park) but it also may be much bigger than any of us though. In fact, it may even be larger than the denning area currently protected by Wapusk National Park and the Churchill Wildlife Management Area.
Hat tip Tom Nelson