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Home > News and views > Epping Forest Branch: The Kingdom of the Ice Bear

Epping Forest Branch: The Kingdom of the Ice Bear

6th February 2020 – The Kingdom of the Ice Bear, Part l

On our first meeting of 2020 the branch welcomed back Bob Johnson, the celebrated photographer and lecturer.  His topic on this occasion was The Kingdom of the Ice Bear which, due to its length, was split into two parts with Part ll to be held on our next meeting in March.

Bob began with a short summary of his previous talks which featured his travels in Africa with wonderful pictures of lions, leopards and cheetahs.  He also displayed shots of birds including little owls, short eared owls and barn owls.  He then began the story of his recent adventure in Svalbard, to the north east of Greenland.  Together with a small party of photographers, he spent four weeks touring the island in search of seals and polar bears.  Shortly after the start of the tour through the icy waters, he came across the remains of a whale which bears had also discovered – to their evident satisfaction.  At one stage Bob managed to drop a camera from the boat on to the ice.  Within a very short time one of the polar bear cubs approached the camera to see if it was edible.  Clearly it was not and it was retrieved, somewhat gingerly, without damage.  The talk concluded with many more pictures taken from a drone.

5th March 2020 – The Kingdom of the Ice Bear, Part ll

The second phase of Bob’s northern adventure took him to Longyearbyen – a small settlement to the NW of Svalberg.  This is polar bear territory and public noticeboards advise citizens to carry loaded rifles for their own protection.  Bob displayed many photographs of bears and their families enjoying life among the ice packs either playing, sunbathing or feeding – mostly on seals.  He also presented wonderful pictures of Arctic foxes and Arctic skuas, birds famous for robbing other birds of their food – mostly in midair!  And so ended a most entertaining talk.  We look forward to Bob’s next expedition with bated breath.


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