Arctic Mission

First sighting: polar bears

Female polar bear with two cubs. Photo: Conor McDonnell

There was much excitement for the Arctic Mission team yesterday when we saw our first polar bears. Co-skipper of Snowdragon II was the first to spot footprints as she navigated her yacht around an ice floe. More footprints were witnessed over half a mile away before we ‘stumbled’ onto a mother and her two cubs and a fourth adolescent.

Recent polar bear tracks. Photo: Conor McDonnell

Of the sighting, expedition leader Pen Hadow said ‘This is another bittersweet moment during our voyage. The mother and cubs looked in good condition from afar, but the juvenile appeared to be in a challenging phase of its life. The good news is the essential food chain is currently supporting these bears. The cautionary twist is that survival may be marginal, and any new and avoidable risks to the food chain should be controlled by international policymakers before it is too late.’ 


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Arctic Ocean and portrait images by kind permission of Martin Hartley:

Yacht and wildlife images by kind permission of Erik de Jong:

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