USGS biologists were clearly busy this spring putting more satellite radio collars and glue-on tags on Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears but there’s some surprising information in their April 2015 tracking map about current sea ice conditions.
From the 2013-2014 issue of “Polar Bear News” (USFWS).
What’s interesting is that the sea ice maps they use show less dark spots that might be open water this year than were present last year in late April. Oddly, this phenomenon has one prominent biologist worried about “challenging” polar bear habitat developing this year – without mentioning last year at all.
The USGS track map for April 2015 is copied below.1
Posted in Life History, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, Eastern Beaufort, habitat, ice maps, melt ponds, polar bear movements, polar bears, satellite collars, satellite images, sea ice, Southern Beaufort, tracking polar bears, USGS
Satellites images might be able to replace aerial counts of polar bears in some places — if there are no clouds. But it seldom distinguishes cubs and can’t tell males from females, found a 2012 study of Foxe Basin bears that’s just been published.
Note: This is my 200th post since July 26, 2012!
Posted in Population
Tagged aerial survey, cubs, Foxe Basin, helicopter survey, polar bear, population estimates, Rowley Island, satellite images, sea ice, September ice minimum, Seth Stapleton, USGS