Polar Bears and Dogs Have Become Best Friends

Why these two natural adversaries fighting viciously? The answer is..well….nobody knows for sure. Your’re most probably thinking ” Why is he not ripping that dog into pieces and eating him up as a midday snack.

During the long winter months in northern Manitoba Canada, dog teams are a common method of transportation. Many of these dogs live outside in conditions that would quickly kill an unprotected human. The bone-chilling cold, which can easily reach 40 degrees below zero, and howling winds, often above 40 mph, are not the only arctic perils faced by these dogs. They must also contend with the ever present danger of the largest carnivore on land, the polar bear. Each year, several hundred polar bears migrate northward along the western shore of Hudson’s Bay. These migrating bears came ashore months earlier and hundreds of miles to the south as the sea ice broke up during the summer. With the exception of a few scraps they may have found along the way, these polar bears may not have eaten for as long as 5 months.

Their migration northward takes the polar bears directly through the the area where many sled dogs are kept. This can lead to some tense encounters. There are usually about 40 dogs in this area at any given time. When a bear is spotted by the dogs, a chorus of loud, aggressive barking ensues. Normally, this is sufficient to keep the bears away. Once in a while, a trouble-making bear, usually a younger bear, comparable to a human teenager, ventures too close looking for food. All the dogs react with obvious aggression until the bear is scared away

In very rare instances, a large, mature male polar bear will sometimes linger in the general vicinity of the dogs. Its temperament is usually somewhat less aggressive than that of its younger counterparts. In fact, a big bear often helps to keep the younger, “trouble-making” bears away. Although it may stay in the general area, the mature bear usually keeps its distance from the sled dogs. On very rare occasions, and no one is quite sure why, an amazing thing happens. One of these totally wild, mature male polar bears will actually seek out the company of one of the dogs.  This does not happen very often, certainly not every year. Very few people have ever witnessed this event.