While most of a polar bear’s existence is spent in relative isolation, there are times – often during their great migrations – when they find themselves cued up and provided with the opportunity for casual social interaction. Bear tea time if you will. It is in these rare moments as the bears wait for Hudson Bay’s ice to freeze over that what start as tense encounters casually transition into relaxing play time and socialization.
This photograph shows two bears engaged in the early stages of one such meeting. We were incredibly lucky in that at various points in the day as many as four bears could be found in the immediate area of the Tundra Buggy Lodge where we were staying. Watching the bears go through their social rituals, establish a power hierarchy and make friends was a fascinating insight into these otherwise solitary, but highly intelligent creatures.