North·Photos

Polar bears gather to eat whale carcass near Clyde River

After a successful bowhead whale hunt last August, people in Clyde River, Nunavut, are gathering to witness another natural spectacle: Dozens of polar bears eating the carcass.

'You can hear them growling': Nunavut photographer sees dozens of bears eating blubber

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      After a successful bowhead whale hunt last August, people in Clyde River, Nunavut, are being treated to another natural spectacle.

      Most of the meat and muktuk from the whale was used, but polar bears are congregating at a beach at Cape Christian, or Pinguaqjuit, about 16 kilometres from the community, to eat the blubber on the bowhead carcass.

      Local photographer Niore Iqalukjuak says he saw 35 bears at one time.

      “I went and tried to take a picture of them late last night [Monday night] and it was completely different than taking pictures in the day,” he says.

      “You can’t see them, but you can hear them growling, so it’s scarier.”

      Iqalukjuak says hunters are seeing many bears in the area, and he suspects they will disperse once they have eaten enough.

      He says foxes, ravens and seagulls are also eating the carcass.

      This summer's bowhead whale hunt was the first for the community in over a century. 

      Commercial whalers depleted the bowhead whale population to near extinction by the early 1900s.

      The hunt is now heavily regulated.