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The Polar Bears of Spitsbergen
May 12, 2007 9:58 PM   Subscribe

The Polar Bears of Spitsbergen is an amazing and gruesome photo gallery posted by a photographer who stumbled across a bear & its cubs at feeding time & spent the next 45 minutes capturing the event. via
posted by jonson (40 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Panserbjorne!!
posted by jonson at 10:02 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kuddly wuddly.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:03 PM on May 12, 2007


The true face of Knut!

That white fur of theirs clearly has some super stain-fighting formula. I can't get blood stains off my white clothes after I feed on walrus.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I thought they drank Coke and danced with penguins?
posted by Falconetti at 10:05 PM on May 12, 2007


Or seal. Whatever that mess of bloody organs turns out to be.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:05 PM on May 12, 2007


Makes me hungry
posted by grobstein at 10:07 PM on May 12, 2007


Sealed for freshness!
posted by Abiezer at 10:09 PM on May 12, 2007


This photo is like the Colbert poster child for "Bears, #1 threat to America"
posted by mathowie at 10:10 PM on May 12, 2007


Remember, heat only sets the stain, you need cold to get it out. Try swimming 50 miles through nearly-freezing salt water, and then rolling in snow.
posted by agentofselection at 10:10 PM on May 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


mathowie: the first thing i thought when i saw the photos was Colbert.
posted by rbs at 10:11 PM on May 12, 2007


Awww... cuddly gruesomeness! These two pictures are both incredibly cute and also poised to haunt my nightmares. My cuter nightmares, of course.
posted by Kattullus at 10:19 PM on May 12, 2007


Fact: Bear eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
posted by parallax7d at 10:19 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was wondering why a bear, nursing her cubs, would be gruesome. I love the red and white, it seems so Canadian.
posted by Oyéah at 10:21 PM on May 12, 2007


How gruesome. We need us some global warming to put the kibosh on this type of activity.
posted by insulglass at 10:32 PM on May 12, 2007


Now I'm worried about vacapinta.

Great pics, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:41 PM on May 12, 2007


They've got red on them.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:03 PM on May 12, 2007


I've got so many old family photos of me, my mom, and my little sister that are just like these: happy, nurturing, covered from head to toe in blood.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:23 PM on May 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


When I saw this, I confess my only thought was: "I can haz bearded seal?"
posted by chinston at 11:24 PM on May 12, 2007


The seal must have provoked him in some way.
posted by stavrogin at 11:38 PM on May 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Awesome.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:45 PM on May 12, 2007


I've been told polar bears are the only animal that will hunt humans as food.
posted by salvia at 12:07 AM on May 13, 2007


knut will have some conflicting emotions when he grows up.
The endearment "I love you so much; I could eat you" towards his caretakers will be semi-literal.
posted by jouke at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2007


Amazing, thanks.

I also like the jump sequence.
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:30 AM on May 13, 2007


Happy Mothers' Day!
posted by taosbat at 12:39 AM on May 13, 2007


It's OK, everyone knows that cold water is the best way to remove blood stains.
posted by caddis at 1:05 AM on May 13, 2007


I've been told polar bears are the only animal that will hunt humans as food.

I don't know if this is strictly true, but I think it's true that polar bears are pretty much the baddest land animals around and have zero fear of people (they may stay away out of annoyance or unfamiliarity, but not fear). When one decides they don't mind being around people, they are permanently a serious danger unless something is done. I think past discussions of polar bears by Alaskans and Canadians have indicated that you need a BFG to have any hope of doing anything more than merely pissing-off a polar bear. Basically, you want to just stay the hell away from them.

Of course we all now know the bit of trivia that it's those cute, dancing herbivore hippos that kill the most people when they spook, pull up their skirts, and in their terror run right the hell over you. On the other hand, when a polar bear comes your way it's because it wants to eviscerate you, tear off your head, and then probably piss down your neck after discovering what a paltry meal you made. Finally, out of simple spite, it hunts down your family, your friends, your childhood sweetheart, all your business associates, and everyone who's ever read a comment you've posted on the Internet and guts each one like fish.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:05 AM on May 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Polar bears are the largest land-based predatory mammals on the planet. Don't fuck with em.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:36 AM on May 13, 2007


well, if the seals would stop swimming around all covered in barbeque sauce, then maybe the bears wouldn't eat them! I blame the seals.
posted by Flood at 5:40 AM on May 13, 2007


They're carnivores for meats sake...



Nice pics, thanks.
posted by michswiss at 6:20 AM on May 13, 2007


Polar bear stalking and attacking a ring seal, attacking a bull walrus, and taking on a walrus herd - all gory but amazing clips.

On a more benign note, there are the wonderful inuit dancing bear carvings.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:41 AM on May 13, 2007


All kinds of awesome.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:34 AM on May 13, 2007


You can bet the wildlife federations won't be buying these pix for calendars any time soon.

Which is a shame, because while I understand the need to garner public sympathy for a cause (like climate change) we also need to remind people that wildlife is wildlife, and as such capable of ripping your head off.
posted by Zinger at 7:48 AM on May 13, 2007


I just thought I should lower the tone.
posted by nowonmai at 8:55 AM on May 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Someone needs to turn some of those pictures into Mother's Day cards.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 9:30 AM on May 13, 2007


Of course we all now know the bit of trivia that it's those cute, dancing herbivore hippos that kill the most people when they spook, pull up their skirts, and in their terror run right the hell over you. On the other hand, when a polar bear comes your way it's because it wants to eviscerate you, tear off your head, and then probably piss down your neck after discovering what a paltry meal you made. Finally, out of simple spite, it hunts down your family, your friends, your childhood sweetheart, all your business associates, and everyone who's ever read a comment you've posted on the Internet and guts each one like fish.

*dies laughing*

But, you know, speaking as a Canadian, every word is truth.
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 AM on May 13, 2007


Whoa... Planet Earth was not that gory.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:58 AM on May 13, 2007


Great link! I once heard an NPR report about expeditions that have tried to cross the Bering Strait on winter ice. It included a radio transmission from one adventurer panickedly counting the polar bears that were circling in on him.
posted by LarryC at 10:49 AM on May 13, 2007


Man, those bears are hardcore.
posted by dazed_one at 4:53 PM on May 13, 2007


Why didn't they use their lasers to slice up the seal into neat little chunks first? Coulda saved a lot of mess...
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:36 PM on May 13, 2007


The Bear

1
In late winter
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow
and bend close and see it is lung-colored
and put down my nose
and know
the chilly, enduring odor of bear.

2
I take a wolf's rib and whittle
it sharp at both ends
and coil it up
and freeze it in blubber and place it out
on the fairway of the bears.

And when it has vanished
I move out on the bear tracks,
roaming in circles
until I come to the first, tentative, dark
splash on the earth.

And I set out
running, following the splashes
of blood wandering over the world.
At the cut, gashed resting places
I stop and rest,
at the crawl-marks
where he lay out on his belly
to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice
I lie out
dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.

3
On the third day I begin to starve,
at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would
at a turd sopped in blood,
and hesitate, and pick it up,
and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down,
and rise
and go on running.

4
On the seventh day,
living by now on bear blood alone,
I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled,
steamy hulk,
the heavy fur riffling in the wind.

I come up to him
and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes,
the dismayed
face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils
flared, catching
perhaps the first taint of me as he
died.

I hack
a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink,
and tear him down his whole length
and open him and climb in
and close him up after me, against the wind,
and sleep.

5
And dream
of lumbering flatfooted
over the tundra,
stabbed twice from within,
splattering a trail behind me,
splattering it out no matter which way I lurch,
no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence,
which dance of solitude I attempt,
which gravity-clutched leap,
which trudge, which groan.

6
Until one day I totter and fall --
fall on this
stomach that has tried so hard to keep up,
to digest the blood as it leaked in,
to break up
and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze
blows over me, blows off
the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood
and rotted stomach
and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear,

blows across
my sore, lolled tongue a song
or screech, until I think I must rise up
and dance. And I lie still.

7
I awaken I think. Marshlights
reappear, geese
come trailing again up the flyway.
In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear
lies, licking
lumps of smeared fur
and drizzly eyes into shapes
with her tongue. And one
hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me,
the next groaned out,
the next,
the next,
the rest of my days I spend
wandering: wondering
what, anyway,
was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that
poetry, by which I lived?


from Body Rags, Galway Kinnell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967).
posted by taosbat at 8:54 PM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


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