Beautiful pictures as polar bear and cubs enjoy sunset in Alaska

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Beautiful pictures as polar bear and cubs enjoy sunset in Alaska


A photographer managed to capture some stunning images as a polar bear mother and her cubs gaze upwards to take in the dramatic Arctic sunset.

Every year up to 80 bears inhabit the barrier islands near the Arctic city of Kaktovik, Alaska, as they wait for the Arctic Ocean to freeze over for the winter.

The region turns into a giant polar bear nursery as the cubs, who are mostly one year old, kick their heels and play near the water's edge.

These beautiful images were captured by Seattle-based photographer Jon Cornforth, 41, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Beautiful pictures as polar bear and cubs enjoy sunset in Alaska



The snapper took the photos from the safety of a small boat, allowing him to get as close as legally permitted without putting himself in harm's way.

Speaking to Barcroft Media, Jon said: "Polar bears have an incredible charisma about them. They also have a lot of character.

"However, even though they look cuddly and peaceful, I would not want to be on the ground next to them!"

The bears and local citizens have an amicable truce, with residents often carrying out a small level of subsistence whaling to keep the polar bears from starving during their time on land.

Beautiful pictures as polar bear and cubs enjoy sunset in Alaska


"These bears were very interested in swimming across to the main island because the local community had just harvested a bowhead whale, so the bears were very excited," Jon said.

"However, my native guide wanted to keep the bears away from town, so he positioned his boat between the bears and town. There was a lot of activity and I lucked out with the brief golden light."

This polar bear family was walking along the shore just as the golden sunset light briefly peaked underneath the clouds, bathing the bears in a beautiful glow.

One shot shows the mother and her cubs staring up at the sunset - with one of the cubs even standing up to take a better look.

"The cubs often stand on their hind legs to be able to get a better view and make themselves look bigger," Jon said.

"Often they will even appear to wave, though I have not been fortunate enough to get that shot yet."

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