Polar (Bear) Vortex

Polar (Bear) Vortex

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I've been on a virtual travel kick, so it was particularly great to hear about Google Street View's latest project: mapping Canada's polar bear country!

"As climate change becomes increasingly more apparent, polar bears are seen as the barometer to measure changes in the environment. The impact of the warming of our planet can be clearly seen in Churchill, Canada. This quiet town, set on the shores of western Hudson Bay, is a place where polar bears and humans coexist until the sea ice forms and the polar bears can travel on to the bay to hunt seals, their main prey.

While climate change may seem like a gradual process, often difficult to discern, the impact is real and evident in the polar bear capital. In Churchill, climate change has shortened the time that the bay remains frozen, reducing the polar bears' hunting season by approximately four weeks.

For this trek, Polar Bears International, an organization dedicated to the livelihood of these majestic creatures, invited Google to the Canadian Arctic to capture rare glimpses of the bears. Together, PBI, Earth Outreach, and Google Maps have collected Street View imagery in and around Churchill and Wapusk National Park, expanding PBI’s education and outreach efforts to people around the world."

Below are a few of the 40km of interactive panoramic photos taken by the expedition, yours to explore sans long johns and parka.

More info on conservation + how to support Polar Bears International: here.

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