Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Polar Bear

I found this picture in a BBC News article about polar bears, and post it because it reminds me of our trip to Greenland in 1987, but not because we met any bears, I'm glad to say!

Animals which live up where we were, 300 miles inside the arctic circle, have to be pretty opportunistic when it comes to food, as this bear is. It's investigating whether or not the sock is edible.

Although we saw no bears, we did see arctic foxes, and they behaved similarly. Once we left a bucket of clothes soaking in BioTex overnight, only to find socks and knickers distributed over the tundra the following morning.

On another occasion a bar of soap vanished from its container, and we found it days later, tens of metres away, with what we took to be arctic fox tooth marks on it.

Less unexpected was the foxes' habit of burying surplus food. A tin of tongue was delivered with some food once, and as none of us liked tongue, we cut it into small cubes and left it out for the fox. Later we saw it collecting the cubes one at a time and burying them in the tundra against hard times. The meat would probably have kept a reasonable length of time as the permafrost was less than a foot below the surface.

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