Different types of sea ice

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SEA ICE Sea ice is classified according to its age and whether or not it is able to drift. For polar bears there are mainly two different types of important sea ice, annual ice and multiyear ice. Each of these greatly influences the abundance of and access to Arctic seals. Annual ice is floating sea ice that ...

Living on thin ice

LIVING ON THIN ICE Sea ice is more than just a mass of frozen water – it plays an important role in the global climate. The presence of sea ice stabilises the climate by acting as a barrier between the underlying ocean and the atmosphere, thus limiting the amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth and preventing oceanic heating. ...

Lack of alternative food sources

LACK OF ALTERNATIVE FOOD SOURCES Polar bears are intelligent, curious and opportunistic, all traits important for survival in a diverse habitat that changes dramatically from season to season. After thousands of years adapting to sea ice and seal hunting, the condition of their sea ice habitat is crucial. But as sea ice dwindles, polar bears may need to adopt other ...

Ringed seal pups

INCREASED PREDATION ON SEAL PUPS In recent years, later sea ice freeze-up and warmer winters have forced more ringed seals to give birth on top of the sea ice without proper cover. Their unprotected newborn seal pups are easy targets for polar bears and other predators, such as arctic foxes. At first glance this easy-access food source seems to be ...

Feast or starvation

FEAST OR STARVATION One of the most remarkable physical adaptations of polar bears is the ability to adjust their metabolism, or the energy required for maintaining vital bodily functions. In periods of food abundance, polar bears maintain normal bodily functions similar to other mammals, but when food supplies are scarce or absent the bears can lower their metabolic rate in ...

Seal specialist

SEAL SPECIALIST Ringed seals are the most numerous and widespread seal species in the Arctic. They are also the smallest of the Arctic seals, weighing 40–70 kg, which makes it possible for smaller polar bears to catch them. Polar bears may hunt ringed seals all year if sea ice is available, but the most important hunting period is during spring ...

What do polar bears eat?

WHAT DO POLAR BEARS EAT? Extreme conditions in the Arctic require extreme adaptations, and polar bears demonstrate a wide range of them. Polar bears are not just bleached brown bears with a northern distribution; they have specialised physical and behavioural features that make them the supreme predator of the Arctic, beaten only by humans. They not only survive in a ...

Polar bear populations

19 SUBPOPULATIONS OF POLAR BEARS In the 1980s researchers tagged thousands of polar bears in all five countries and installed satellite collars on some bears to monitor their seasonal movements. More subpopulations were discovered in Arctic Canada, and by 1993 a total of 15 populations had been documented. Two more decades of research have shown a total of 19 polar ...

Polar bears

. POLAR BEARS Polar bears are the classic symbol of the Arctic. They are the top predators of the north, associated with physical strength and extreme adaptations that make living on sea ice possible. Polar bears have long been important to spiritual beliefs and rituals in old Inuit cultures and are also popular in modern societies. In the last decade, ...

Kaktovik

Kaktovik Welcome to an amazing Kaktovik photo tour to Barter Island on the northern coast of Alaska, where we will have some incredible close encounters with the king of the Arctic - Polar bear. Kaktovik is known for the big aggregation of bears in the autumn, only a few km away from the settlement. We will use a small boat in ...