Dr. Bondar talks about making this image:
Location of Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada.
This Polar Bear Spring occurs in its Ice-Across Biome; a transition ecosystem between Boreal forest and Arctic tundra.
Along Hudson Bay in Manitoba a polar bear contemplates the spring ice melt. This aerial photograph, taken through the open window of a helicopter, emphasizes how polar bears are dwarfed by the land on which they live. The lines in the photograph are made by melting ice and a small stretch of land that curves, matching the line of the polar bear’s turned head and neck.
Wapusk [Cree for “white bear”] includes both the Hudson Plains, a mostly flat terrain of permafrost and ice-bound and the bordering Coastal and Marine food webs that support these large carnivores. Polar bear claws are thick and curved, sharp and strong to catch and hold prey and to provide traction on the ice. The footpads on the bottom of each paw are covered by small, soft bumps known as papillae. Papillae grip the ice and keep the bears from slipping.