The tundra biome is located around the North Pole and in the Arctic Circle, lying covered in snow for most of the year. The word "tundra" comes from the Finnish word "tunturia," which means treeless plain. The tundra is considered barren, aside from small dwarf willow trees, which occasionally grow, and a few small animals. One of the distinguishing features of the area is the sun shining 24 hours a day during the summer months.
The animals found in the tundra are some of the most resilient creatures in the animal kingdom. They are able to exist in temperatures as low as -1.11 degrees C below zero Fahrenheit during the winter months within the Arctic tundra. These animals also have a difficult time foraging for food because most of the tundra is covered in permafrost, which prevents the growth of most plant life and limits the development of a rich food biodiversity. The herbivores in the area include caribou, Arctic hares, squirrels, voles and lemmings. The carnivorous mammals are wolves, polar bears and Arctic foxes. Some of the migratory birds found in this region are falcons, ravens, loons, sandpipers and various species of gulls.
The alpine tundra biome is the site of the caribou migration route, which includes around 50,000 caribou crossing the frigid conditions in a large passing. The usually desolate tundra becomes full of life and movement as the caribou begin their crossing. The annual crossing attracts a large number of predatory species that follow the herds and hunt, making for a chaotic scene at times. Photographers and people from all over the world visit the tundra at this time to follow the long journey.
Polar Bear Express
The train picks up passengers in Cochrane in the Canadian province of Ontario for a ride that takes guests through the Arctic tundra, experiencing everything the region has to offer. The original tracks were built in 1932 with more than 190 miles of train tracks. Passengers are taken through the Arctic watershed, past lakes frozen lakes, to James Bay. The Polar Bear Express stops at all railway stations, providing a unique experience in the Arctic tundra. The train is open from Jan. 30 to Aug. 31, providing daily trains from Tuesday to Sunday. As of 2010, costs are £58.1 for adults, £52.3 for seniors over 60, £49.4 for students with ID and £29.10 for children 11 and under.
Polar Bear Express (Ontario Northland Railway)
200 Railway St.
Cochrane, ON P1B 8L3