Here's What it's Really Like to Work in Polar Bear Country

Polar Bears International's Geoff York has been studying Arctic wildlife for more than 20 years. In that time he's had some magical moments—and a few close shaves.

Receive $50 off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you'll find gear for all your adventures outdoors. Sign up for Outside+ today.

Most of us will never see a polar bear anywhere but a zoo or on a webcam, but for Geoff York, getting up close with them is an everyday occurrence. York has spent more than 20 years working with polar bears, first as a USGS biologist and World Wildlife Fund staff member and now as the Senior Director for Conservation of Polar Bears International. Last year, he spoke to Amelia Arvesen by satellite from the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba, to talk about his early years on the job, his closest call with a polar bear, and why he feels like he owes the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore something.

Enjoyed this interview? Check out Polar Bears International’s bear cams.