A number of visits to the Journey to Churchill have been with the polar bears (either alone or in number) outside rather than in their swimming pool.

This particular polar was really enjoying itself in the snow either sliding down the slope or simply lying in the snow in the weak winter sun.

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Nikon D7100
AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm
f6.3 1/1600 100mm

Taken November 25, 2017.

Posted by Jan Bjorklund on Sun, 12/17/17 20:14
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Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Sun, 12/17/17 20:16

same bear in b&w

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Nik silver efex pro2 fine art, high key

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Sun, 12/17/17 20:18

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The polar bear was directly below me and I was trying to get a clear shot of the eyes.

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Sun, 12/17/17 20:18

taken in their pool

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Comments by Steve Owen on Wed, 12/20/17 09:16

Nice series, Jan! I especially like the OP.

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Wed, 12/20/17 20:19

This past Sunday I was watching Kaska as she was eating some meat scraps and small fish and I got a close look at her claws.

Polar bear paws are impressive, to say the least. Their feet are heavily furred for warmth and their pads are rough for added traction on the ice. Their feet are also quite large, often about 12 inches wide, to match their weight and to spread that weight out over deep snow and thin ice to avoid falling through. Their claws are shorter and sharper than their brown bear cousins on land, measuring up to 3.75 inches including the terminal phalanges (a small piece of bone like our fingertip) or up to 6 inches if you include the first full digit, or entire toe, and the claw. Their claws are also very thick, sharp and curved the better to grip frozen sea ice or slippery prey, like a ringed seal.

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Thu, 12/21/17 20:37

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Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Thu, 12/21/17 20:38

same bear a few seconds later but in color... nearly got the eyes

Comments by Paul Bracey on Fri, 12/22/17 08:24

What's not to love. These guys are amazing.
Look at the size of those paws!

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Sat, 12/23/17 20:04

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Taken December 23, 2017.

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Sat, 12/23/17 20:05

yes there are other creatures in the Journey to Churchill exhibit... trio of a family of musk oxen on December 23, 2017

Comments by Nigel Smith on Sun, 12/24/17 03:51

Really enjoyed this series.

Comments by Barry Dickieson on Tue, 01/29/19 16:28

Sorry to see on the news that one of your polar bear subjects has
passed on.

Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Tue, 01/29/19 16:49

The following is from CBC online.

"Blizzard was a beautiful bear and he will be dearly missed by zoo staff visitors and volunteers. It is unusual to lose a bear this young," said the zoo's director of veterinary services, Chris Enright.

Blizzard lost his appetite and started acting lethargic 13 days ago.

"Our veterinary team made the decision to anesthetize Blizzard in order to conduct a full assessment of his condition," Enright said. Blizzard was treated with antibiotics and appeared to be doing quite well until his behaviour changed and his condition worsened this weekend.

"Monday morning the decision was made to anesthetize him again in order to reassess his condition and take appropriate measures. Again the procedure went well but in the course of reversing the anesthesia and recovering Blizzard experienced respiratory distress. Veterinary and animal care staff did absolutely everything we could to save him but sadly he passed away," Enright said.

Blizzard came to the zoo with his sister about 4 years ago after the pair were found abandoned, I believe, along the Hudson Bay shoreline close to Churchill.