I’ve combined the months of November and December for this post on USGS polar bear tracking in the Beaufort Sea because there’s not much to tell: there’s one tagged bear left and she’s going almost nowhere. Where’s the news in that?
Actually, it does tell us something: this female is probably in a sea ice den, a relative common phenomenon in the Beaufort Sea. And she’s on ice that’s out over very deep water.
This bear is on ice over deep ocean rather than the continental shelf (see map below), and has moved little since the end of November (see December tracking map below), it is liking this female has made a maternity den on the sea ice. If so, she has probably given birth already: although many cubs are born in December and some as late as February, the scientific convention is to assign January 1st as the date of birth for all cubs of the year.
December location of this tagged USGS female below: the movement is almost certainly due to the movement of the ice itself.
NOTE: This is the November and December 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.”