These amazing photographs show the moment when more than 230 polar bears gathered on a remove Arctic island to feast on a beached whale.
The bowhead whale died in the shallows of the remote Wrangel Island, a Russian island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Siberian and Alaskan coast.
The extraordinary sight was witnessed by tourists on an Arctic cruise on Finnish built MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
Beast feast: Dozens of polar bears gather to enjoy lunch after spotting a beached bowhead whale on Wrangel Island
A source at Wrangel Island Nature Reserve said: ‘There were at least 230 polar bears, including single males, single females, mothers with cubs and and even two mothers with four cubs each.’
Experts called ‘unique’ the sight of so many polar bears together, and it perhaps amounts to one per cent of all this species left on the planet .
From a distance, the bears had initially looked like a flock of sheep but ‘it soon became evident these were ravenous polar bears feasting on an unexpected meal’, reported The Siberian Times.
The mainly Russian tourists had just departed from a stopover on the island on a cruise from Mumansk to the region of Chukotka, close to the US state of Alaska.
Polar picnic: There were at least 230 polar bears, including single males, single females, mothers with cubs and and even two mothers with four cubs each
Great experience: The extraordinary sight was witnessed by a group of Russian tourists on an Arctic cruise
Far off: Wrangel Island is a Russian island in the Arctic Ocean, located between the Siberian and Alaskan coast
The island is a Nature Reserve with a significant polar bear population, and all seemed to gather for the big whale lunch
Whale of a time: The tourists had just departed from a stopover on the island on a cruise from Mumansk to the region of Chukotka, close to the US state of Alaska, when they saw the masses of bears on the hillside
‘The information about this unique gathering has been passed to the international scientific group that monitors Chukotka and Alaska’s population of polar bears,’ said a spokesman.
‘Members of the group and staff of Wrangel island reserve are continuing to make observations.’
Wrangel Island is famous as the last place on the planet inhabited by the extinct woolly mammoth.
The hairy beasts survived here until around 2,000 BC.