Taking the Shot
Aahh Sparring! Along with mother and cubs, sparring is the holy grail of polar bear photography. This shot is particularly nice because these two let me get pretty close and on the ground so as to silhouette them against the blue sky.
Polar bears, almost always males, spar while killing time waiting for the ice on Hudson Bay to freeze-up. More sparring is witnessed among this Southern population of Canadian bears than among others....but this may be because there are more people there watching them.
This is just play fighting....no one gets hurt. They will only spar when it is cold, maybe -10C or colder, because they overheat really easily. Even when it is cold, they generally only whack at each other for 30 seconds or so and then lay down in the snow and rest and cool off. It is said that this sparring helps hone their real fighting skills for later in the season when they are on the ice and vying for the favors of one of the very few females they are able to find.
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