NatuReview 2013

Polar Bear and Brunnich's Guillemots
Polar Bear and Brunnich’s Guillemots

One of the absolute highlights of this year happened at the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet. Always being spectacular, with its 100m high cliffs and 100.000 pairs of guillemots flying around, this time there was something special. We always tell the guests that the birds breed on the cliffs to prevent predation by Arctic Foxes and Polar Bears. Well, this proved to be wrong, this time. Nine days before, during our previous visit, we already saw a bear on top of the cliff, but he disappeared quickly. This time it was different. As an experienced mountaineer he climbed down the cliff, chasing away the birds and predating on the chicks. We sat in our Zodiacs and watched in awe. I moved my Zodiac a little backward, not only to get a better view of what was happening 80m above us, but also in case the bear slipped and would fall down the cliff… But no such thing happened. The bear ate a few chicks, moved even further down to grab some more, and climbed back to the top of the cliff…

I wasn’t surprised that bears would do things like this, but never really saw pictures or even heard stories about it. Watching it was really one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen in the Arctic…


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