Nfld. & Labrador

Polar poses: Hopedale woman snaps magnificent photos of polar bear

Jenna Flowers set out with intentions of finding a polar bear, but she didn't imagine she'd meet the most photogenic bear in Labrador.

Jenna Flowers said she's happy to see photos shared of healthy bear

Jenna Flowers captured this photo of a polar bear near Hopedale. (Submitted by Jenna Flowers)

Jenna Flowers set out on Sunday with intentions of finding a polar bear, but she didn't imagine she'd meet the most photogenic bear in Labrador.

By Tuesday morning, she had 585 shares on a Facebook photo album and a memory she'll cherish for a lifetime. Her photos have subsequently been shared thousands of times on other social media, including CBC. 

"I knew people liked polar bears but I didn't know it would get this popular," she told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning. "I would have watermarked them if I knew!"

Flowers was about 25 km southeast of Hopedale, near a place where her friend had seen a polar bear a few days earlier.

They were peering across the ice through a rifle scope when they saw something stir in the distance.

Flowers couldn't tell if it was a bear or not, until it reared its head and stood on its hind legs.

"At first I missed the picture because my friend was standing in front of me," she said. "So we started making some noises at him and he stood up again so I could get a picture."

A polar bear near Hopedale rolls around in the snow on a sunny day. (Submitted by Jenna Flowers)

The bear was remarkably tame, Flowers said, despite only being about 100 yards away from humans. It retreated once it saw them.

"But he was really tame even after he ran away and turned back around and posed for some more pictures," Flowers said.

Flowers snapped pictures as the bear dunked its head in the snow and rolled around like a dog.

"I suppose he was cooling off because it was a warm sunny day," she said.

The polar bear appeared to stretch its back and legs at one point. (Submitted by Jenna Flowers)

It seemed the bear had just eaten, she said, because "he seemed kind of full and lazy."

Flowers was happy to capture photos of a healthy bear — and then to see them go viral.

"I think some people see sick polar bears and just assume that it's all of them," said Flowers. Inuit communities like Hopedale rely on the annual polar bear hunt.

"But we hunt polar bears here every year. There's three licences that go out [in Hopedale] every year and pretty much every polar bear we see is just as healthy as that one."

With files from Labrador Morning