Remote and starkly beautiful, Wapusk National Park, at the northeastern edge of Manitoba, is home to Arctic foxes, caribou, and most famously, polar bears. (The word “Wapusk” means “white bear” in Cree.) It was here that professional wildlife photographer Daisy Gilardini came to capture the animals on film, and found a rare moment: a young cub of about four months old hitching a ride on its mother’s back end. It’s a peaceful, even funny, scene—which belies the gruelling conditions under which it was shot.
Gilardini, who’s originally from Switzerland and now lives in B.C., waited an incredible 117 hours to take these pictures. It was nearly two weeks of waiting in the freezing cold, outside a snowy polar bear den.
For Gilardini, who endured winds gusting up to 70km/h, capturing such a rare moment was worth the tough conditions—she called it “priceless.”