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2nd Place in the Play Mates Challenge in The World As We See it or as we missed it Group
3rd Place in the Co-Existence Challenge in the Elemental: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water Group
Featured in “300+ Go Long” October 2011
Featured in “Closeups in Nature” October 2011
Featured in “America the Beautiful” November 2011
Featured in “The World As We See It, or as we missed it” November2 011
Featured in “Inspired Art” November 2011"
Featured in “Mother Nature’s Finest” November 2011
Featured in “Nature’s Paintbrush” November 2011
Featured in “Canon DSLR” November 2011
Featured in “Bears of the world” February 2012
Editors choice for Animal Photo Of The Week – in the World As We See It, or as we missed it Group – October 31st – November 6th 2011
Canon 7D with EF500 f4 IS lens
1/640sec f5.6 ISO 1250
Almost as if performing for the camera, two Polar Bear cubs (Ursus maritimus) playfully tug at a piece of whale blubber on a beach at Kaktovik, Alaska USA..
The village of Kaktovik is situated on Barter Island, a small island 3 miles by 2 miles just off the arctic coastline from ANWR. The island has a large saltwater lagoon located on the east side which provides sheltered anchorage for village fishing vessels.
The village is inhabited by approximately 250 Native Inupiat “Eskimo” people whose subsistence has been dependent on hunting marine mammals and whales for thousands of years and in a tightly controlled hunt permitted by federal law are allowed a harvest quota of three bowhead whales during the hunting season.
The carcasses of the butchered whales are left on the beaches (as seen in this image) and provide an attractive food source on which polar Bears can scavenge. Pack ice covers this area of the Beaufort Sea surface for 9 months of the year and during this time the bears feed mainly on seals that live under the arctic ice. However in mid summer when the pack ice moves offshore the polar bears are often marooned on shore where food sources are limited. The bears often therefore enter the fall season hungry and have keyed into the valuable food source provided by the carcasses of he butchered whales.