Safety in polar bear country (PDF, 330 KB)

Parks Canada sites

Parks Canada is responsible for four sites in northern Manitoba: York Factory National Historic Site, Wapusk National Park, Parks Canada Visitor Centre in the Churchill Heritage Railway Station and Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site, including Cape Merry Battery and Sloop Cove. Except for the Visitor Centre, these sites pose a high risk of polar bear encounters and should never be visited without a licensed guide or Parks Canada staff member.

In Canada’s national parks it is unlawful for visitors to carry a firearm. Consider hiring a guide or a bear monitor for increased safety. Outfitters who wish to have guides considered for a permit to carry firearms at Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site and in Wapusk National Park, should contact Parks Canada by phone 204-675-8863 or by email

Safety in polar bear country

Each encounter is unique.
Like people, polar bears display different behaviours and react differently to humans depending on the circumstances. This pamphlet provides guidelines for avoiding and dealing with polar bear encounters. For your safety and the welfare of the bears, please read this pamphlet carefully and seriously consider the risks involved with living and travelling in polar bear country. Good judgment, common sense and familiarity with polar bear behaviour are required at all times in bear country. For further information contact Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship (204-675-8897) or Parks Canada (204-675-8863).

If you encounter a polar bear:

  • Check that all people in your group are accounted for.
  • Back away, facing the polar bear at all times.
  • Get into your vehicle or a building as rapidly as possible.
  • Do not run.
  • Call for help by phoning Polar Bear Alert at: 204-675-2327

Call the Polar Bear Alert Line (204-675-2327) if you:

  • See a bear within or near the town limits
  • See a bear between the town and the airport
  • Observe a bear near the outlying residential areas or businesses (i.e. Goose Creek, Camp Nanuk, Churchill Northern Studies Centre)
  • See a bear that appears to injured

If there were any injuries, call 911.

During the active polar bear season, which is usually mid-summer to late fall, the Polar Bear Alert phone line is monitored 24 hours-a-day. It is an emergency line. Call this line only if you see or have an encounter with a polar bear. If you would like information please call the general office line 204-675-8897.

Polar bear behaviour »

For more information:

Parks Canada
Box 127
Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Phone: 204-675-8863

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship
Box 70
Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Phone: 204-675-8897

Chamber of Commerce
Box 271
Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Phone: 204-675-2022

Town of Churchill
Box 459
Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Phone: 204-675-8871