Google Street View meets polar bears in Churchill, Canada

Google Street View gets everywhere, and one of the big G’s happy-snapping vehicles (a massive truck in this case) has been taking pics of the local wildlife in the Canadian tundra.

Specifically, Churchill, Manitoba, which is known as the “polar bear capital of the world,” and indeed it didn’t disappoint the Google crew.

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Of course, Google wasn’t up there having taken a wrong turn following a particularly storming Google Maps navigation snafu. In fact, today is International Polar Bear Day, and the search giant was photographing in partnership with the Polar Bears International conservation group, the Independent reports, in order to raise the profile of the endangered bears. As you’re most likely aware, they’re suffering due to their rapidly melting sea-ice stomping grounds.

The Street View team explored the Wapusk National Park and saw plenty of the great white bears, who were “curious” but didn’t cause any trouble. One even stood up on its hind legs in an effort to try to peer into the truck.

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There was a BBC documentary in the not-too-distant past (“Spy on the Ice”) where polar bears were filmed with spy cameras disguised as snowballs and tiny icebergs, and the creatures proved extremely curious during this programme.

Anyhow, of course Street View addicts will have a new domain to explore; a very icy and bleak one, but the reward will be the chance to spot some of the bears in the wild.

Aaron Brindle, a spokesperson for Google, noted: “Just to be clear, you're not going to be seeing the polar bear through the telescopic lens of a professional photographer.” He then said viewers would have to hunt and find the creatures, exactly as they would do in the real world. Except without any danger of becoming a red smear in the snow…

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