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Bear watching holidays in the northern boreal forests and tundra of Canada where you can find brown bears, black bears and polar bears. For wildlife holidays in Europe, in Finland brown bears inhabit the taiga forests and in the high Arctic of Svalbard polar bears can be seen on Arctic cruises.
Introduction to Bear Watching Holidays
We have included on these pages bear watching holidays primarily from the temperate rainforests of the west coast of Canada where brown 'grizzly' and black bear can be found and the taiga forests of Finland where brown bears are also found. Of course we also have some polar bear holidays with bear safaris in Arctic Canada around Churchill and in the high Arctic of Svalbard, Norway where expedition cruises are the best way of seeing polar bears.
Bears roam the world and there are in total just 8 species and whilst all are under threat from habitat loss and other human intervention it is possible to see bears as far afield as the national parks in India where sloth bears roam and you may be lucky to see Asiatic black bears. Whilst in Asia, it is worth pointing out that giant pandas currently cannot be visited in the wild in Foping and Changqing National Parks due to ongoing survey work. In South America you can find spectacled or Andean bears in Peru and Ecuador.
Bear viewing varies tremendously between destinations. In Churchill, Canada you may visit a remote lodge and either view polar bears from behind a fence surrounding the lodge or perhaps get out and walk on the tundra. More commonly 'tundra buggies' are used as observation decks. In the high Arctic waters of Svalbard we use small cruise ships to give exceptional wildlife experiences and there are good opportunities to view polar bears.
In Finland the brown bears tend to live around the border zone with Russia where there is less human disturbance. Here you will visit hides in the forest that either take a small number of persons or for photographers just one or two persons at a time. The bear viewing tends to take place overnight when there is 24h daylight and the bears are usually baited close to the hides with pellets and fish scraps. Elsewhere in Europe, such as on our wildlife holidays in Poland it is possible to find bears roaming naturally among the southern mountains of the Tatras and Bieszczady.
In India's national parks bear viewing is likely to be serendipidous whilst on a game drive or staying at a lodge. In China giant pandas are tracked by local guides and the walking in the mountains requires a good level of physical ability due to vegetation covered steep slopes and distances potentially covered off trail.
Again in South America you are more likely to encounter bears whilst walking than by any other means. For completeness, the only bear not mentioned here is the smallest bear, the sun bear, which can be found in Southeast Asia.