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Arctic Wildlife Encounters : a successful presentation in Pointe-aux-Trembles (Montreal)


Version française de ce texte.

Last Sunday, in the context of the Arctic Wildlife Encounters photo exhibit, I had the great pleasure of sharing some of the photos and videos I brought back from different trips in the Arctic. Close to forty persons assembled in the café of the Maison de la culture in Pointe-aux-Trembles for the occasion.

Together we relived many memorable encounters with various animal species that live above the 70th parallel. Marine mammals, land mammals and birds previously encountered at the following three locations showed up at our rendezvous:

  • Cunningham Inlet on Somerset Island (Nunavut), recognized for being the summer meeting place of hundreds of belugas. They gather at the mouth of the Cunningham River to rub against the rocky bottom and help molt their skin. A breathtaking sight!
  • The Svalbard archipelago (also known as Spitzberg,its main island) located halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here we came across herds of curious walruses, bearded seals sunbathing, reindeer grazing quietly, hundreds of thousands of murres which flew over our heads in great cacophony and Arctic terns ready to attack anyone who dared approach their nest. It is also after a whole day of navigating all the way to the 82nd parallel that we met with the polar bear in its preferred habitat: sea ice.
  • The town of Churchill, Manitoba, known as the capital of beluga whales in the summer time and polar bear capital in the fall. Many left the presentation with the desire to go to Churchill one day to live the unforgettable experience of kayaking with the belugas. We also now better understand the reality of Churchill’s inhabitants who have to live with the fact that polar bears are present on land for nearly 7 months out of the year.

After the presentation, a lady who lived for several years in Newfoundland mentioned that, although it is very rare to see polar bears on the island, it has happened that some landed after having drifted on an iceberg! Lucky them! A free cruise along the beautiful Labrador coast!

Thank you to everyone who came out and specially to the children who raised so many interesting questions. Thank you to Julie and Marie-Claude of the Maison de la Culture House for organizing this presentation and to the Amis de la Culture de la Pointe for making the event possible.

It is not too late if you wish to see the exhibit. It is up until Sunday, March 4.
France Rivet

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