Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea – all three bears on the ice during October 2015

All three of the females with radio collars installed by USGS last spring (see footnote below) spent October out on the sea ice – which suggests the Kaktovik female with the tight collar that made the news last week was either wearing a failed collar, USGS removed her icon from the map, or she was not wearing a USGS collar.

polar-bear-radio-collar_CBC Oct 28 2015

It is possible that the poor bear was the one represented by the purple icon from last month (see map below), the only USGS collared bear that was on shore during September and still sending signals. The bear in the above photo was photographed in Kaktovik, easy walking distance for a bear, near the end of October.  The purple icon on shore in the September USGS map is no longer present this month.

As far as I know, there has been no follow-up information on the fate of this bear: we still don’t know whether the collar has yet been successfully removed.

October 2015 map – no bears on shore:

Original caption:

Original USGS caption: “Movements of 3 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2015. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 and 2015 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All 3 of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 31 October, 2015.” Click to enlarge.

Last month’s map (September) one bear on shore (purple icon):

Figure 1. Original caption: “Movements of 4 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of September, 2015. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 and 2015 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All 4 of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 30 September, 2015.”

Original caption: “Movements of 4 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of September, 2015. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 and 2015 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All 4 of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 30 September, 2015.”

There was more ice along the coast at 31 October than last year at this time.  Last year’s October map:

Movements of 12 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2014. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. Ice coverage for 31 October, 2014. Click to enlarge. It looks to me like the 12th bear is a light pink icon that's now

Movements of 12 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2014. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. Ice coverage for 31 October, 2014. Click to enlarge. It looks to me like the 12th bear is a light pink icon that’s now “hiding” under one of the others onshore.

Footnote 1. This is the October 2015 follow-up to my post on the July 2013 track map for female polar bears being followed by satellite in the Beaufort Sea by the US Geological Survey (USGS) – “Ten out of ten polar bears being tracked this summer in the Beaufort Sea are on the ice.” See that post for methods and other background on this topic, and some track maps from 2012 (also available at the USGS website here).

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