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Beluga whale Churchill incentive DMC

Amazing Wildlife of Churchill, Manitoba

Nature. Adventure. Incentive travel to the Arctic North provides all of this and more! In Churchill, Manitoba the host of wildlife one can experience in the region is unprecedented. Here’s a few of the standout ‘local residents’ that you may have the chance to encounter on a Churchill incentive trip.

Polar Bears are the ‘celebrities’ of Churchill – many visitors come from all over the world just to witness these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. These are very large animals; at 350-700kg (772–1,543 lb) they are commonly known as the largest land-based predator on earth. Residing within the Arctic, polar bears have adapted to the harsh conditions of the tundra, where they are the masters of their domain, hunting seals along the edges of the sea ice. Polar bears are fantastic swimmers, with the ability to stay below the water for three minutes as well as the stamina to swim for over a week at a time. The worldwide population of polar bears is estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000, placing them on the ‘vulnerable species’ list. Although they play a key role in the spirituality of the indigenous people of the Arctic, polar bears were historically hunted quite heavily.

Beluga Whales are unmistakable due to their all-white color, an adaptation to allow them to hide among the Arctic’s polar ice caps from predators, and surprisingly expressive faces. These striking animals are known for being very social, and they often group together, especially while feeding at estuaries during the summer months. They are not considered to be a very large whale at about 5.5 m (18 ft) long. Their highly-developed echolocation ability allows them to move about under sheets of ice where they feed on fish, crustaceans and deep-sea invertebrates. The beluga whale population worldwide is estimated at just 150,000, placing them on the ‘threatened’ and ‘endangered’ lists in many of the regions where they are found.

Moose are easily recognized by their almost-comical long faces and the males’ large antlers resembling upturned hands. While they may seem to be quite calm and slow-moving in general, a startled or harassed moose can move quickly and aggressively. And standing up to 2m (6.5ft) high at the shoulder, this is no small animal! Though they are the largest member of the deer family, they are primarily solitary and do not move in herds as other deer do. There is estimated to be 500,000 to 1,000,000 moose in Canada.

Photo by Mike Johnston via creative commons

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