In Life in Polar Bear Town which airs on BBC-2 on 31 December, presenter and wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan heads to Canada at the peak of bear season, to discover what life is really like in the tiny town that’s become known as the ‘Polar Bear capital of the world’.
Every Autumn, polar bears gather on the shores of Canada’s Hudson Bay, waiting for the sea ice to form so they can begin their winter hunt. Right in their path lies the community of Churchill, Manitoba, where for two months a year locals have to share their home with the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore.
Gordon goes on patrol with the town’s polar bear cops, works alongside the bin men who have to dodge bears every day at the dump, and meets a young woman who was mauled by a bear, right on the main street. Thousands of tourists also pour into town. For them a trip to Churchill is a chance to catch a glimpse of an endangered icon. For the locals, it’s just everyday life.
Gordon discovers first hand that keeping everyone safe is no easy feat. The question is – can bears and people ever make good neighbours?
Our picture shows Gordon with Erin Greene, who was attacked by a polar bear in Churchill in 2013.
Life in Polar Bear Town with Gordon Buchanan air on BBC Two on 31 December from 8.00pm to 9.00pm