As Arctic ice melts, polar bear habitats are shrinking, and this is forcing them to change their way of life. Apparently, for some bears, this means venturing into new, ice-free territory.
These photographs were taken in Torngat Mountains National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador. Polar bears are not unheard of in the park, which is located beneath the lowest tip of Baffin Island, Nunavut, but some have said sightings of the bears have increased in recent years, even as the glaciers in the area are melting and temperatures are rising.
Albertan Paul Zizka captured these photographs, and noted that despite being far from ice, the bear seemed happy. “We’re in a place where they’re happy, healthy and free to roam,” he told the Daily Mail.
Unfortunately, sea ice is vital to polar bears’ hunting habits. Polar bears swim to ice shelves, from which they hunt seals. As their ability to hunt diminishes, they tend to wander further, and often enter populated areas, posing a risk to people. In fact, a hiker was attacked by a bear in Torngat National Park just a few years ago.
For now, the park remains a safe and beautiful haven for these bears, and these photos capture the beauty of both the area and these animals. The future effects of melting polar ice remain to be seen, but we hope this bear finds a meal and a way back to his icy habitat soon!
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