Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic's Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: 2013-01-29
Number of Pages: 320
Website: Amazon, LibraryThing, Google Books, Goodreads
Synopsis from Amazon:
"I like to go out for walks, but it's a little awkward to push the baby stroller and carry a shotgun at the same time."-housewife from Churchill, Manitoba
Yes, welcome to Churchill, Manitoba. Year-round human population: 943. Yet despite the isolation and the searing cold here at the arctic's edge, visitors from around the globe flock to the town every fall, driven by a single purpose: to see polar bears in the wild.
Churchill is "The Polar Bear Capital of the World," and for one unforgettable "bear season," Zac Unger, his wife, and his three children moved from Oakland, California, to make it their temporary home. But they soon discovered that it's really the polar bears who are at home in Churchill, roaming past the coffee shop on the main drag, peering into garbage cans, languorously scratching their backs against fence posts and front doorways. Where kids in other towns receive admonitions about talking to strangers, Churchill schoolchildren get "Let's All Be Bear Aware" booklets to bring home. (Lesson number 8: Never explore bad-smelling areas.)
Zac Unger takes readers on a spirited and often wildly funny journey to a place as unique as it is remote, a place where natives, tourists, scientists, conservationists, and the most ferocious predators on the planet converge. In the process he becomes embroiled in the controversy surrounding "polar bear science"-and finds out that some of what we've been led to believe about the bears' imminent extinction may not be quite the case. But mostly what he learns is about human behavior in extreme situations . . . and also why you should never even think of looking a polar bear in the eye.
feet away. Instead, I’d filled gallon bags with bear poop and drunk a lot of powdered milk. Moreover, the few bears that I’d seen from the air didn’t appear to be in all that much distress. I wasn’t an expert, but fat is fat. And these bears weren’t showing a lot of bony ribcages. More distressing—to my project, if not to the bears—was that I had a lot less certainty than I’d had going in. It had been my intention to tidily dismiss the “bears are OK” cranks and then get down to some serious
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all be perfectly ready, looking just like the perky professional spokes-advocates that they all looked forward to becoming. “You guys have got this,” Buchanan said, switching into cheerleader mode. “You know all the facts and we’ve given you the skills to do this right. If you get lost or off track, just remember to stick to the science. This isn’t a right issue or a left issue. It’s a human being issue. It takes twenty years to build credibility and twenty seconds to lose it. Everybody ready?
noose-like than warmth-giving. A two-year-old California boy has difficulty understanding the direct relationship between how he dresses and how comfortable he will be. I’m quite sure that he would have happily frozen to death rather than submit willingly to having a down coat put on him. He always fought valiantly as we headed out the door, but I outweighed him by a solid 150 pounds, so I usually won. Holding Percy’s hand tightly, Shona looked as nervous as I felt. “Should we really be up
sheets, lawn furniture, self-serve nachos, and a flat-screen television there as well. Just past the video rental counter, there’s a full-sized ATV—excuse me, quad—parked next to the blue jeans. In a nod to the times, there’s even a small health food display to help wayward environmentalists feel at home. Outside of tourist season, I imagine the cigarette counter gets considerably more attention than the organic case. “Hey, banana boy!” yelled the checker, a middle-aged Native woman. She giggled