Reading tracks

Polar Bear tracks and mountains

It’s always nice to read tracks. They tell you a story about  things happening in the past. On this sandy plain we found tracks of three different Polar Bears walking into the same direction. As the prints weren’t that old, this made me a bit wary. You don’t want to walk into a place where three Polar Bears are waiting for you… But apparently they had moved on and the only bear we would see there was way behind us.

But there are more tracks in this picture. If you look on the mountains in the background, you see a distinct line between the darker upper parts and the paler lower parts. This indicates the place of an old glacier. The glacier that was now at the far end of this fjord filled most of the fjord many years ago. Also a sign of climate change, but not one that is induced by humans. This melt started at the end of the last ice age, so way before the industrial revolution and way before humanity started to heat up this planet. Climate change is indeed something that has always been part of this planet, however, this gives us no carte blanche to just keep on changing the climate at the speed we’re doing now. If we change our behavior now, we can still preserve some, if we keep on going like we do now, the Arctic will be ice free soon….

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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