As the ice hardens on Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, polar bears come out of hibernation to wait until the ice is hard enough for them to hunt seals. They are hungry after months of hibernation, and the females have new cubs in tow.
In Churchill, one can get on a tundra buggy that sits 12 feet above the ground and go out among the bears as they wait. Young males "spar" or play fight as they begin to establish the pecking order that will prevail as they fight over females. Females with cubs work to stay away from the mature males who will kill cubs to prevent competition later as the cubs mature.
Bears often come into town searching for food, so police patrol with shotguns and rubber bullets. Bears are often chased out of town by helicopters that fly right down on top of them and move them back into the Bay. "Bad" bears who won't leave or who return are darted and put in "jail" at a special facility, then carried under a helicopter miles north into unsettled areas near the Bay to keep them "out of trouble." They are almost never killed.
Global warming means the ice hardens later and later, and increases the distances bears much swim between ice floes where they hunt seals. While a mature bear can swim up to 60 miles, cubs cannot and many drown before they find a suitable ice floe.
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