As temperatures get warmer in Churchill, Manitoba, residents may be seeing some changes to their town, which is known as the polar bear capital of the world. Many people flock to Churchill for polar bear sightings during the five- to six-week “bear season” between October and November. It’s up to Churchill residents to make sure the bears (Ursus maritimus) head to the tundra rather than wandering into town. The town has found ways to co-exist with the bears. A hotline let’s residents report bear sightings. Culvert traps line the perimeter of the town. Conservation officers fire blank shotgun shells to scare away that enter, and a facility holds repeat offenders before they’re removed to remote locations. Since the establishment of a Polar Bear Alert Program, serious conflicts have been rare.
Read more about Churchill’s unique relationship with polar bears in The Guardian.