On the ice, Scott Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

Jennifer Kingsley
August 22, 2015

When we first spot these bears from our ship, the male is separate from the mother and cub. After a few minutes, the male gives chase, but only briefly. When the mother changes direction and comes toward us, she doesn’t appear to see that the male is curving closer, behind a burm of ice.

I never dreamed I would see what comes next.

The mother catches sight of the male and sprints away; the cub struggles to keep up. As the mother waits for her cub, the male closes the distance between them. She turns to face her attacker, but it’s too late.
In this shot by @ralphleehopkins, the male grabs the female by the neck as the cub tries, one more time, to get away. Five seconds after this picture was taken, the cub is dead.

We watched the mother pace and the male drag his kill across the ice and into the water.

It was horrible and fascinating and terribly sad.

The drama of this land has no equal.

A male polar bear gives chase to mother and cub