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The sou­the­as­tern islands are real­ly polar bear coun­try. Bears ever­y­whe­re, it can be dif­fi­cult to find a place whe­re you can go for a walk. In Free­man­sund, ever­y­thing is occu­p­ied by the­se cre­a­my-white polar sheep. And of cour­se, you might ask, why. The ques­ti­on „what are they doing here? The­re isn’t any­thing they can eat?“ is one that I hear about 100 times every day. One easy, but nevert­hel­ess true, ans­wer is becau­se it is their home, after all. They are living here. They want to be here. They could go some­whe­re else, if they wan­ted to, inclu­ding the pack ice in the north. They would be the­re within a few days, but they stay here.

But of cour­se it remains a valid ques­ti­on what they find to eat. Some bears here are quite fat, the blub­ber has to come from some­whe­re.

I’d quite like to find out, so I have deve­lo­ped a habit that might help me to learn more about it: I have star­ted to take pic­tures of polar bear shit. Every time I find some drop­pings on the tun­dra, I grab the came­ra and press the but­ton. Unli­kely that this coll­ec­tion turns into a pho­to book some day. You may find it stran­ge that I walk around here pho­to­gra­phing shit. As you wish, I don’t care. I find it inte­res­t­ing. You just have to take a clo­se look. This mor­ning, I found smas­hed reinde­er bones in one pile of shit. Tee­th in ano­ther, also reinde­er. Many times, I see fea­thers, and vege­ta­ti­on remains are very com­mon. Here you are, that’s an ans­wer get­ting shape, isn’t it? So I am more than hap­py to keep going with this shit pho­to­gra­phy busi­ness, when­ever the oppor­tu­ni­ty ari­ses.

Chan­ge of sub­ject (anyo­ne still with me?). Today has been the col­dest day of the sum­mer up here so far, just 2 or 3 degrees. Quite cold, when you include the fresh eas­ter­ly bree­ze. Whe­re is the sum­mer? The flowers loo­se their colours, the lea­ves of the polar wil­low chan­ge their colours on lar­ge are­as now.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

The tun­dra over which we are wal­king is a real wha­le ceme­ta­ry. Seve­ral thou­sands of years ago, when this used to be the coast, dozens of wha­le car­cas­ses must have drifted ashore here.



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last modification: 2014-08-16 · copyright: Rolf Stange