20 June 2009 - 31 July 2009
Arctic specialists bowheads, beluga and narwhal, are commonly called ice whales because their lives are intimately linked to the coming and going of the Arctic sea ice. They spend the winter months along the ice edge and in large open ice holes called polynyas. In summer, they follow the retreating ice, making use of the bays, fjords and estuaries which open up as the ice vanishes. This is where the Frozen Planet team caught up with them.
Elizabeth is a director on Frozen Planet with a PhD in animal behaviour. As well as filming marine wildlife she's documented the lives of polar people.
Somerset Island lies around 73°N, high above the Arctic Circle in Nunavut. Nunavut is Inuit-owned territory, and covers an area of 750 000 square miles across the very north of Canada. This massive land mass is sparsely inhabited but boasts a vast array of wildlife and spectacular scenery. Cunningham Inlet, a river estuary on the island’s north coast is home to the largest aggregations of beluga whales on Earth.
© Microsoft Virtual Earth, image courtesy of Navteq
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