The photograph of the month for October 2016 was taken on my Polar Bear expedition to Svalbard this July (read the trip report). I actually made this photograph through the open porthole of my cabin as I wanted to be as low down to the water as possible (wildlife photographs are almost always stronger and more powerful when you get down to eye level with the subject). I had been photographing the bear from the deck of the ship with a 600mm lens. When he started to approach closer to the ship I grabbed a wide angle lens and ran downstairs to my cabin as I new there would be an opportunity to capture a dramatic image of the bear in the landscape from a low perspective. We were fortunate to have some really dramatic cloud and lovely soft arctic light under the midnight sun. If you are interested in photographing Polar Bears on sea ice under the midnight sun there are now only a couple of places remaining before my expedition next July will be sold out. You can register your interest by dropping me an email.
One of my very good friends and Norwegian partners Ole Jorgen Liodden has just launched a new project and study on Polar Bears vs. Humans.
Polar bears and humans have a long history in most parts of the Arctic. Since the Inuitts met the Polar bears thousands of years ago, there has been more and more interaction with this large predator. Hunting, scientific activity and tourism is today directly interacting with the Polar bears, and also climate change and pollution can be linked to human activities, affecting the life of the Arctic King.
The big question is how this human activity is affecting the Polar bears. How many Polar bears are killed annually? Is this hunting sustainable? Is the Polar bear management effective? How does the climate change affect the survival and opportunities for Polar bears? Is the population of Polar bears decreasing or increasing? Are there any red flags regarding the trade of Polar bear skins? These are some of the important questions very few authors, researchers or organizations are asking. In this project we want to publish information about these topics and ask the questions to different Polar beard interest groups.
The project aims to expose the impact of Polar Bear trophy hunting as well as the legal and illegal hunting and killing of Polar Bears in the Arctic. You can read more (and support) about this important project on the project website.