Polar Bear cub celebrates on the bones of a 75 ton whale

Polar Bear cub celebrates on the bones of a 75 ton whale

A hungry bear cub clings to a massive whale bone in Alaska.

The young bear and his sibling, about six feet high on their hind legs, climb onto a fifteen-foot-long Bowhead whale that was left out by the native Alaskan Inupiat hunters.

The 75-ton whales are sacred to the Inupiat people, who cook and eat three times a year and leave the bones in a certain place for the polar bears to finish off the meat remnants that stick to the bones.

The young bear and his sibling, about six feet high on their hind legs, climb onto a fifteen-foot-long Bowhead whale that was left out by the native Alaskan Inupiat hunters.

The young bear and his sibling, about six feet high on their hind legs, climb onto a fifteen-foot-long Bowhead whale that was left out by the native Alaskan Inupiat hunters.

The young bear and his sibling, about six feet high on their hind legs, climb onto a fifteen-foot-long Bowhead whale that was left out by the native Alaskan Inupiat hunters.

The 75-ton whales are sacred to the Inupiat people, who cook and eat three times a year and leave the bones in a certain place for the polar bears to finish off the meat remnants that stick to the bones

The 75-ton whales are sacred to the Inupiat people, who cook and eat three times a year and leave the bones in a certain place for the polar bears to finish off the meat remnants that stick to the bones

The 75-ton whales are sacred to the Inupiat people, who cook and eat three times a year and leave the bones in a certain place for the polar bears to finish off the meat remnants that stick to the bones

Photographer Eiji Itoyama spent five days in the village of Kaktovik, Alaska, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, photographing the approximately one-year-old bear.

The 48-year-old from Osaka, Japan, said the Inupiat people are only allowed to hunt three Greenland whales, which can grow up to 60 feet long, and leave the carcass on the ice so that the bears can eat the leftovers.

He said, "The locals called Inupiat are allowed to hunt three killer whales every year and each time they place the remains in a specific location so that polar bears can eat the rest of the whale meat.

"Basically polar bears love playing, especially boys.

"Her curiosity drew her to these whale bones. They pushed them around, tugged at them, tried to climb up, and fought around the bone.

"The boys follow their mother over the ice, but sometimes they find something interesting or something they need to check.

"The polar bears of the mother I saw were very tolerant – they waited for their boys to finish their game as long as they felt it was safe for them.

"The bones are a central place to find polar bears in Kaktovik.

"They hang around the bones of bones and I saw many mothers and boys in the morning and in the evening.

"Although most bones are years old and left there from previous years, they still attract bears with leftover old flesh.

"The boys easily spent more than half an hour playing with their bones before the family moved.

Photographer Eiji Itoyama said, "Although most bones are years old and have been left there in recent years, they still attract bears with leftover old flesh.

Photographer Eiji Itoyama said, "Although most bones are years old and have been left there in recent years, they still attract bears with leftover old flesh.

Photographer Eiji Itoyama said, "Although most bones are years old and left there from previous years, they still attract bears with leftover old flesh.

"The boys follow their mother over the ice, but sometimes they find something interesting or something to check," added Itoyama

"I had such a smile on my face when I took pictures. The boys were so cute and I completely forgot that polar bears are dangerous animals.

"I have heard from the locals that this year in Kaktovik about 30 polar bears live.

"Last year it was 70 and I wonder why this year there are so few, maybe for environmental reasons. I'm not sure.

"But the bears I saw during my stay are all peaceful and healthy, though there is not much to eat at this time of the year.

"For polar bears, October is still early to hunt seals because the seawater is not yet frozen and they are not allowed to walk on the ice to find seals in breathing holes in the ice.

"For now, they are forced to eat carcasses of seagulls, seals and whales until they start hunting."

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