Some visitors are enjoying Endicott Island, which is around 15 miles from Prudhoe Bay, but only 2-3 miles off shore. With the sea ice out, an estimated 130 polar bears are roaming Alaska’s north coast from the Canadian border to Barrow waiting for the freeze, according to some BP people we ran into. I have no idea if that figure is accurate, but I’ve sent my bear biologist friend out as a fact checker.
Polar bears are far more aggressive than your run-of-the-mill grizzly. An oil worker was mauled a couple of years ago when a polar bear was looking through a small window at his work camp. The worker swatted a rolled up newspaper at the window, in an attempt to “shoo” the bear away. The polar bear came through the window taking out half the wall with it.
Even polar bears are curious as to what that plug is hanging from our vehicles’ grills.