07-01-13

Swipe of black on white, claws and pads pressed against glass. The cameraman cowers inside his metal and glass box. The polar bear sniffs through a gap in the frame. She rears. She launches. She pushes. She snarls. Teeth bared, her breath fogs the glass. The cameraman cowers, hoping the bear won’t succeed in rolling his vehicle. And then, she loses interest. She ambles off, back-swaying in the way that only a polar bear can.

The cubs nuzzle their tranquilised mother. The cameraman and the zoologists poke and prod the bear, the zoologists in the interests of science with tape measure in hand, the cameraman to fulfil his curiosity. Next he cradles a sedated cub as though it’s a child. A zoologist determines the sex of both cubs. A trail of blood from one ear of each bear stains their fur. Men in layers of protective clothing stand around as the cubs and their mother slowly regain consciousness.

The mother is tracked via a satellite collar. A male polar bear can’t be tracked this way. His neck is bigger than his head. The cameraman watches the family through a long lens. A mother and two sons slow-march across the snow.

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