“Take only pictures, leave only footprints”.
As is often the case with Apex predators, the Polar bear epitomises the Arctic. At home in the ocean just as they are on land, they are found across massive territories of the Arctic. In fact, the Polar bear will rarely venture far from the coastline. Polar bears can be found in Norway (Svalbard), Greenland, Russia, USA (Alaska) and Canada. If seeing this majestic but vulnerable apex predator in its natural environment is a dream of yours, then read on below to decide your destination.
Found both on Greenland and Svalbard, polar bear sightings are more common on the latter. To give yourself the best chance of seeing bears in Svalbard, look for voyages at the beginning of the season in May and June. This is when the ice conditions are at their most favourable, the bears have emerged from their dens with the hunger to hunt and seal pups abound.
In the Russian Arctic Polar bears are found on the archipelago of Franz Josef Land in the west and in the east on Wrangel Island. Both locations are much further north and present extremely exciting itineraries. These itineraries are very limited and require booking well in advance, with less than 10 voyages exploring Franz Joseph Land and around 6 exploring Wrangel Island each season, they sell out extremely quickly.
Wrangel Island above the Siberian Arctic is known to be home to one of the most concentrated populations of the Polar bear. It is, however, more difficult to access than Franz Joseph Land and Svalbard.
The Canadian Arctic is certainly home to Polar bears, though not in the concentrated numbers that they are in Svalbard, Franz Joseph Land and Wrangell Island due to the size of the islands. Itineraries in the Canadian Arctic usually operate towards the middle to end of the season, when the pack ice in the Northwest Passage has broken up. To provide the best opportunity to find Polar bear here, we recommend looking at voyages that travel around the Northwest Passage, Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island.
Answer: The Norwegian territory of Svalbard is the most popular Arctic itinerary to search for Polar bears.
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