Monday May 29, 2017

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Polar-bear tales

What do polar bears mean to you? Take a moment to tell us what you think, and have a look at what others are saying on International Polar Bear Day
Tales, not tails

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How does Korean kimchi go with polar-bear meat, and should we hire them as motivational counsellors? Those are just a few of the questions we’re asking ourselves after receiving reader input for International Polar Bear Day.

Thanks to everyone who’s contributed so far. We’ll be adding more pictures, stories and videos during the day. Please feel free to participate, either by e-mailing us with your pictures, videos or comments, or by posting your comments below.

My name is Gloria Song and I am a Korean-Canadian writer, lawyer and musician living in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. (Gloria Guns is my stage name.)

About a year ago, my friend’s husband, a very skilled Inuit hunter, successfully hunted a polar bear and generously shared the meat with the community. My husband and I were curious so we asked him if we could try some.

The main question for us was how to cook the polar bear meat. My husband is a professional chef who was trained at the Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute back when there was only one location in North America. He is currently the chef at one of Cambridge Bay’s only restaurants, Saxifrage. He has also learned many of our family’s recipes for Korean from my mother and my grandmother, because I myself am a terrible cook.

So my husband decided to try cooking the polar bear meat “kalbi” style. Kalbi is a delicious Korean dish, usually made from barbecued beef. Substituting the beef with polar bear meat was going to be interesting ... but it ended up being delicious! I am sure this is the first time that somebody has tried Korean kalbi-style polar bear meat, but it won't be the last time for us. It turns out Arctic-Asian fusion cuisine works really well!

You can read the full story on my blog.

(See a photo of Song’s neighbour’s polar bear hide hanging to dry, in the gallery below.)

Gerrit Wesselink, associate executive director, Youth Arctic Coalition

Happy International Polar Bear Day Arctic Journal!!

As a young Canadian born and raised within a hundred kilometres of border with the United States, the Arctic was always a distant, foreign land. In August 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to Western Greenland and Eastern Nunavut with an organization called Students on Ice. I remember one time, while crossing the Davis Straight on our way to Canada, we came across a small group of Polar Bears. You could only imagine the excitement that exploded on our ship, especially for those of us that were not from the region! Seeing that bear, being in that moment, experiencing everything that was going through my mind made me fall in love with the Arctic.

Two years later, I am the Associate Executive Director of the Youth Arctic Coalition, I have visited six of the eight Arctic States, and am more passionate about the Arctic than anything else in my life. I have built an amazing network of political leaders, business executives, academia, and young people stretching from Alaska to the Far East, and I cannot envision me spending my life without the Arctic being a part of it. Witnessing that Polar Bear, being in that moment singlehandedly changed my life. I’ll never get a chance to thank that bear, but maybe in turn I’ll be able to make his life, and the life of everyone and everything that calls the Arctic home just a little bit better! 

Happy International Polar Bear Day!

(See a photo of Wesselink’s inspirational ursus below.)