Category Archives: Kaktovik Alaska

Polar Bear Blog – Walking Hibernationish Sort of

A recent study out of Alaska is gaining a fair bit of traction in the media, raising alarm bells that 'polar bears are not able to adapt to climate change' and the usual hub-bub.  It is a fairly comprehensive study of polar bear biology from spring to fall, measuring body temperature, locomotion and that sort of thing.  It is also a study that turns a few common polar bear facts on their head. First of all, the study suggests that 'walking hibernation' is actually not that important an adaptation for polar bears, if it exists at … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Polar Bear Update

Well, the jet stream dipped pretty far south again this year so this seems to bode well for Hudson Bay and Davis Strait Bears.  Mothers with cubs were reported emerging from the dens in the first week of Watchee Lodge's operations in Wapusk National Park.  There seems to be a fair amount of movement and it looks like cub season may be a week ahead of schedule... much like freezeup was this fall. Last 'bear season', we encountered a lot of mothers and cubs and most looked pretty healthy, so there is a fair bit of … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Gobama! The Importance of ANWR

Since President Obama announced expanded protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and a Protected Marine Area in Alaska, there has been a fair bit of discussion about how this affect polar bears, if at all.  I would say that those 'crowing' about this decision are absolutely right to do so. This is a very important move for Alaska's polar bears. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is extremely important for the Southern Beaufort polar bear population, especially the pregnant females - obviously critical animals for any population. The vast majority of terrestrial dens occur within … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Year in Review Pt II

In the last blog, I talked about how this year was mostly good for Churchill's bears but pretty bad for some individual bears that swam ashore early.  Today, we'll look at the rest of the world's bears... Alaska Two polar bear populations inhabit Alaska - the Southern Beaufort and the Chukchi Sea populations.  Although they are both living on the same highly variable sea ice, they seem to be reacting quite differently to changing conditions.  The Chukchi Sea population is reported in good condition with a high birth and cub survival rate.  In 2013, researchers found a … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Churchill, Kaktovik and Arviat

Kaktovik is quickly securing its place as a premium destination for polar bear photography.  As yet, it does not have the tourism infrastructure of Churchill or the variety of activities for visitors but its bear-viewing opportunities, I would say, are on par albeit quite different. In Churchill, the bears gather each fall, gradually building in numbers as they await the return of the ice and early season seal hunting.  Although they forage through the summer, there is a real sense of 'anticipation' in the bears and a wide variety of behaviours as they wait for the … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Kaktovik Alaska

Since Kaktovik seems to be hitting peak bear season (and, of course, peak polar bear politics… ha) while Churchill is just getting ready to roll… here is another take on Kaktovik – this time from Susan Crockford at Polar Bear Science. She drifts a bit too far to the right for me sometimes but provides a needed counterpoint to the doom and gloom club.  Plus, I have to say that she has been a lot more helpful in my requests for scientific papers and information than others in the polar bear community – even … Continue Reading ››