Every fall, approximately 10,000 tourists from around the world descend on “The Polar Bear Capital of the World,” Churchill, Manitoba. This community of about 800 people on Hudson Bay in Northern Canada is home to the annual migration of more than 1,000 hungry polar bears that pass through town as they wait for the Bay ice to return. The new Smithsonian Channel docu-series POLAR BEAR TOWN, premiering Wednesday, November 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, documents a season in Churchill, following this extraordinary migration of human and four-legged animals as they collide in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways.
Churchill is one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild and prime viewing happens in October and November. POLAR BEAR TOWN captures that moment when tourists from around the world fly into town in hopes of getting up close and personal with a polar bear. Professional guides Dennis Compayre and Kelsey Eliasson have a delicate mission: the get their clients close, but keep them safe.
In the series premiere, POLAR BEAR TOWN: WELCOME TO CHURCHILL, the town prepares for the fall migration. As the season opens, tensions are higher than usual. Last Halloween, a surprise late-night encounter with a polar bear left a local woman seriously injured and the bear dead, the nightmare all in Churchill strive to avoid. Officer Bob Windsor of Manitoba’s Department of Natural Resources, who leads a team of conservation officers, is stepping up efforts to make the town safer, even if it means increasing challenges for guides like Dennis and Kelsey. Among the bears closing in on Churchill is a Polar mom with two cubs to protect and a 1,000 pound male known as Big Bear. Churchill resident Brian Ladoon, who owns and operates the Miles 5 Dog Sanctuary, braces for bear interlopers who try to poach food from his pack of endangered Canadian Eskimo dogs.
NEW SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL™ DOCUSERIES POLAR BEAR TOWN PREMIERES THIS COMING WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16 AT 8 P.M. ET/PT
Six Episodes Chronicles Annual Invasion Of Polar Bears Through Canadian Town Of Churchill, Manitoba Premiere Episode Available Now To Sample
— Smithsonian Channel (@SmithsonianChan) November 8, 2016