RFI: polar bears in Alaska

I am looking for advice to add a polar bear to Alaska birding trip in July. I know of two places, Barrow and Katkovik, and hope at least few polar bears are present in summer.  I plan to visit Barrow anyway. It seems that all commercial tours are in autumn and are tuned to photography at close range – I just want to see one or a few well. Ideal would be a confirmation, that few are now hanging outside Barrow and I can see them on my own.

If polar bears are unlikely in Alaska, then I will perhaps go to Churchill – best parks to complete a list of typical North American megafauna in C Canada would be interesting.



(apologies for wordpress blogs doing crazy things with formatting).


  • heavenlyjane

    I’ve heard that you can see polar bears year round in Spitsbergen.

  • vnsankar

    I can’t help you with Barrow, but if you want N American megafauna in Center Canada, Riding Mountain NP (Manitoba) is probably your best bet unless you’re willing to go further afield to places like Jasper NP or Wood Buffalo NP.

  • vdinets

    I saw a female with two cubs in Barrow last June, but it was the first sighting in three weeks and the last one that summer. A few years ago I was there in July and was told that there had been no sightings for over a month. Bears are easier there during whaling season (May and September). September is better because there is no ice along the shore and they are more likely to be seen up close.

    Kaktovik is said to be much better (and you can see polar bear-grizzly interactions sometimes), but not in summer, and flying there is very expensive (as opposed to Barrow which is sometimes just $200-300 from Anchorage).

  • Kate Buys

    Friends visited Kaktovik sept 2015 and had amazing Polar bear sightings. According to the guide they used mid-Aug to mid-Oct they are seen daily. And best of all they were the only tourists there. It’s on my list of places to return to in Alaska.
    I don’t think you’ll see them in July there though. … try Churchill (Seal River Heritage lodge). Good luck 🙂

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