Posted onMay 12, 2023|Comments Off on Roald Amundsen tried and failed to tame a polar bear cub in 1920
A short account of polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s failed attempt to tame a polar bear cub he had bought in May 1920 from a trader in the Russian Far East appears today in the Barents Observer. The cub was likely captured after its mother was killed, which was a common practice at a time when polar bears were being slaughtered wholesale throughout the Arctic (Crockford 2019; Honderich 1991; Stirling 2011).
It only took a month for Amundsen to give up his experiment. Below are some excerpts; read the full account here. More photos are here.
Posted onOctober 1, 2015|Comments Off on Beaufort Sea swimming polar bears far from land but not very far from sea ice
Recent accounts of an encounter with a curious polar bear female and her two older cubs in the Beaufort Sea on 16 September give contradictory details about the position of sea ice at the time. The same researcher told one reporter that the ship was 240 km from land, another that it was 240 km from the sea ice, and in another account (that he wrote himself), said the ship had been far from land and sea ice.
“After arriving on station and beginning work the crew noticed three polar bears in the water together which swam around to the ship when our water sampling system was nearly 3500 meters below the surface. The ship was located far from sea ice and land. Indeed, Arctic sea ice extent was the fourth lowest on record this year and there has been speculation that this imposes stress on polar bears which rely on the ice to hunt.” [my bold]
But the maps below show that at the time of the incident (taken from the expedition web site) and the NSIDC Masie sea ice map for 16 September 2015, the ship [the CCGS Amundsen, acting as a research vessel] was actually quite close to an isolated large patch of sea ice, although further from the edge of the main pack. A patch of sea ice plenty big enough for a polar bear to rest upon – no wonder the bears did not appear stressed.
And the polar bear biologist Cullen consulted (Dr. Andrew Derocher) implied by his response that the bear was indeed far from sea ice. Reminds me of the swimming polar bear off the Hibernia oil platform off Newfoundland March 2015, which turned out to be not far from ice at all. See what you think. Continue reading
Comments Off on Beaufort Sea swimming polar bears far from land but not very far from sea ice
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