Nanuq, the great white bear, is found in many of Canada’s northern national parks and in some national historic sites. Whenever bears and people occupy the same area, conflict can arise. Polar bears and people have coexisted for thousands of years but contact between the two must be minimised to continue this legacy. Successful polar bear conservation requires your co-operation.

At Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site, polar bears can be found throughout the site and near Gjoa Haven. Be watchful at all times. Report polar bear encounters, sightings, tracks and signs to Parks Canada staff as soon as possible. Use a radio or satellite phone if possible. If you are nervous about bears, or uncertain of your ability to deal with them, consider hiring a guide. Guides are knowledgeable and experienced at travelling in bear country. When hiring a guide, ask about their experience, how they will avoid encountering polar bears, and their plan of action should you encounter a bear.

Each encounter with a polar bear is unique. Good judgement, common sense, and familiarity with polar bear behaviour are required in all situations. This information provides guidelines for avoiding and dealing with polar bear encounters. For your safety and the safety of the bears, please read this section carefully and seriously consider the risks involved with travel in polar bear country.

Safety in polar bear country

By choosing to travel in polar bear country you not only accept the associated risks, but also the responsibility to alter your plans, actions and attitudes to accommodate these magnificent animals.

If you choose to travel in polar bear country, take the necessary precautions. The more people in your group, the greater the chances of deterring a bear. Read the following pamphlet carefully: