Last April I guided two trips for Europesbig5.com in spitsbergen again. It was a very successful year for Polar bears. Most of the females we found had cubs, and most of them where in very good shape. The Norwegian Polar institute is monitoring 20 female bears, of which 11 had cubs this year, an incredibly high number! With my first group, we even had a rare sighting of a polar bear with 3 cubs!
So unlike last year, we had better weather and we encountered bears, partly because there was quite a bit more sea ice in Isfjord this season. We did trips to the famous east coast for bears as well, but no success there this year. This shows that the possibility of observing a bear is very unpredictable and changes easily from year to year.
But off course bears are only a side dish to this whole arctic adventure. The Svalbard reindeer had a really hard winter due to a thick ice layer just above the soil. Many died, so the Arctic fox population took advantage of all these carcasses. April has few bird species, but the ones that are present are good ones!
Apart from taking some atmospheric shots, I also made a short movie, which I hope to finish and upload soon as well!
I’m already looking forward to next years trips! Polar bears or walruses are never guaranteed, but we’ll push the limits to increase our luck!