Thomas Kokta was among a handful of people this winter to witness the motherlode of photogenic polar bears. The German-born photographer and wilderness tour leader captured some unbelievably adorable images of three cubs with their mother in Manitoba’s Wapusk National Park. The region is considered the world’s largest polar bear denning area. But triplets are rare in the polar bear world.
The outfitter, A Life of Travel, said fewer than 500 people saw the cubs emerge from their den for the first time. And, its “rare operating permit from Parks Canada” allows the company’s indigenous guides to bring visitors to within 100 meters to bears in their natural habitat.
Polar bears, of course, aren’t doing too well these days. The World Conservation Union suggests there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the polar regions of the world, but the species is in serious danger due to a melting ice cap.
“Due to their long generation time and the current greater speed of global warming, it seems unlikely that polar bear will be able to adapt to the current warming trend in the Arctic. If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years,” it notes in its Red List of endangered species.
So, if the chance to catch a glimpse of adorable triplets isn’t enough, perhaps that’s the real reason to plan a visit to the polar bear stomping grounds near Churchill, Man.
h/t New York Daily News Photos Thomas Kokta/A Life of Travel