Tracking Polar Bears
Michael Collier and polar bear in northeastern Alaska
This fantastic photo was sent to me by Mapping the Marvellous reader Paul Bindel, who works for the Grand Canyon Trust, an environmental non-profit organisation based in Flagstaff, Arizona.
It shows Michael Collier, who, according to Paul, “is a real renaissance man and curious beyond belief. He’s a physician, photographer, geologist, accomplished author and pilot. He has published several books on photography from the air and interpreting geology from the air. In this case Michael was photographing up in ANWR and got invited along on a USFWS or State Wildlife polar bear tagging operation. He is working on a book about climate change in Alaska called The Melting Edge.”
Looking at the image, I was struck by my immediate need to invent a story around it – the events leading up to the shot, assumptions about Michael’s relationship with the bear, what happened next. We could talk about human-animal relationships, climate change, scientific research. But maybe what matters most, ultimately, is that we are all animals in a shared environment?