Category Archives: Polar Bear Research

Polar Bear Blog – It Ain’t Over Till Its Over But Its Over

Well, the ice is still pretty erratic along Cape Churchill but pretty much all the bears are out on the ice hunting seals.  The jail was emptied out around the 24th-26th I believe and even when more south winds arrived, most of the bears just floated away with the ice.  It has been a strange ice formation year but, especially for an El Nino year, things could have been much worse. As for Xena, she eventually left with her cubs, the night of the 26th.  The folks in charge determined that her collar was properly fitted … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Radio Collar Update

We spent the day talking to a variety of management stakeholders in the Churchill area and here's where we stand with Xena's collar.  It sounds like Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) appears to be the only agency that is authorized to collar bears in the Churchill area.  All of this activity takes place within Wapusk National Park in September.  Polar Bears International then utilizes these collars as a means of fundraising for their organization and other research projects. So, here's the tricky part...  Parks Canada issued the permit to collar this bear, however, they cannot handle … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog – Holy Diver

A very interesting report has surfaced from Svalbard.  Published by Ian Stirling and Rinie Van Meurs, it records open water hunting behaviour that kind of takes things to a new level. In the late spring and summer, polar bears will hunt seals in and from the water.  Their most common open-water hunt is an 'aquatic stalk' where they swim up behind seals, sometimes diving underneath ice floes and then 'exploding' out of the water, trying to grab an unsuspecting seal. This bear quietly slid into the water about 50m (164 ft) away … Continue Reading ››

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 – Last Call

April and May are a busy time for polar bears. Not only is it peak seal hunting conditions but its also time for bears to, well, get busy. By age four or five, females are sexually mature and ready to mate. As they go into estrous, they appear to leave a scent trail in their footsteps allowing male polar bears to track them. Preferably, the female ‘allows’ the male to court her and they mate over several days, often find a ‘secluded’ spot for their tryst. However, there is considerable competition for mates among the males … Continue Reading ››