Today is International Polar Bear Day, which makes it as good a time as any to snoop around the bears' natural habitat.
In honour of IPBD (an initiative of conservation organization Polar Bears International), Google has released new street view footage of the barren tundra of northern Manitoba, home to one of the world's largest polar bear populations. Google's Trekker cameras have been prowling the streets of Churchill, Manitoba since October. As soon as the ice set in and it was safe to venture out of town, Google strapped the cameras to a Tundra Buggy (an Arctic tourist-mobile that takes visitors on polar bear adventures) to search out polar bears.
"“[This] is an opportunity to connect people to the Arctic and to connect people to the changes that are happening in the Arctic,” Kristen Wright, head of Polar Bears International told the Globe and Mail (PBI partnered with Google on the project). “It will connect people to this ecosystem that not very many people will have the opportunity to come and experience for themselves.”
This isn't the first trip to Canada's north for Google. Previously, the company has mapped Iqualuit and Cambridge Bay. But it's the first time Google has actively pursued animals for its street view maps.
You can take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes pictures of Google's polar bear expedition in the gallery above. Or you can try the street view for yourself here.
Google also released a behind-the-scenes video of their trek across the tundra, which you can check out below.