Sea ice formation in the Arctic occurred earlier in November 2013 compared to recent years, enabling polar bears to return to the sea ice sooner and bringing a welcoming chance for the bears to hunt and feed on seals earlier.
Although the recovery of the Arctic sea ice is certainly good news, it was the 6th lowest November extent with 224,000 square miles lower than average in the 30-year satellite data collection records according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
Fingers crossed the early occurrence of sea ice freeze up permits the bears to celebrate by feasting on seals and other substantial meals.
Photo: Richard Hileman
Polar bear birth caught on camera in colour for the first time.
Seven-year-old polar bear Giovanna gave birth to twins last Monday at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany. Giovanna is a first-time mum and keepers say she is taking excellent care of her cubs which appear to be developing well.
Links: more information / watch the videos
New study finds the Chukchi Sea polar bear population to have held stable or increased slightly. However, although the population appears to be doing well for now, it could eventually face the same challenges as its adjacent southern Beaufort Sea population, which has experienced recent declines in body size and recruitment. The rate of sea ice decline in the Chukchi region is greater than that in the Beaufort Sea and is likely to have negative effects on their body condition and survival at some point.
Gus, the Central Park Zoo polar bear, dies aged 27 after veterinarians found a large and inoperable tumor.
The Wildlife Conservation Society explained, “Gus was euthanized yesterday while under anesthesia for a medical procedure conducted by WCS veterinarians. Gus had been exhibiting abnormal feeding behavior with low appetite and difficulty chewing and swallowing his food. During the procedure, veterinarians determined Gus had a large, inoperable tumor in his thyroid region”.
Zoo officials estimate more than 20 million people visited Gus in his lifetime at the zoo.
Oregon Zoo’s polar bear, Tasul, and her job as a research assistant.
Tasul is currently helping researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey study how climate change is affecting wild polar bears in the Arctic. She has been fitted with a collar which includes an accelerometer that measures her movements while she’s walking, eating, sleeping and swimming. The collar turns these behaviours into electronic signals and along with video footage being collected researchers will be able to use this to create a digital library of polar bear behaviour.
Once the signals have been calibrated, collars similar to the one Tasul wears will be placed on free-roaming bears in the Arctic. This gives researchers the opportunity to monitor the bears’ behaviour without having to observe them directly, which can be difficult to study, given the remote, harsh environment they inhabit.
More information on Tasul and her role in research can be found here.
Tasul’s collar also had attached a Go-Pro Hero camera which gave a bear’s-eye view. Check out a clip taken from the camera on Oregon Zoo’s YouTube page.
Another Win for the Polar Bears! / Post by Erica Wills of Polar Bears International
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled to uphold the 2008 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ban on the importation of polar bear parts collected by hunting!
This is an exciting win for polar bears and all who are working so hard to preserve this magnificent species. Congratulations to the USFWS, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Human Society for their successful defense of the 2008 USFWS ruling to list polar bears as Threatened on the Endangered Species Act!
02 Jul 2013 @ 08:33PM /
TAGGED AS: reblog news
Kali, the orphaned male polar bear cub from Point Lay, Alaska, explores the outside at the Alaska Zoo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that Kali will be temporarily transferred to Buffalo Zoo in New York sometime this spring where he will be introduced to a female cub. His permanent home will be at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri, where a state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit is being built. The exhibit is expected to completed in 2015.
[Photos: Loren Holmes]
Orphaned cub Kali
A polar bear cub, who has been named Kali, has been rescued after its mother was killed outside of Point Lay, Alaska. Kali has been provided a temporary home at the Alaska State Zoo until a new home has been found.
Bruce Woods, a spokesman for US Fish & Wildlife said it’s illegal to knowingly kill a female polar bear, or a female with cubs. It is not clear whether Kali’s mother was killed in a subsistence hunt, in self defense or illegally. It has been confirmed that she was shot but her death is being investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine what happened in this case.
The hunter who shot Kali’s mother had said he did not see a cub with her at the time but soon found out when he rolled her over that she was a nursing sow. He had followed the tracks of the mother to a den about 1,500 feet away where he found Kali inside. He had driven the cub back to Point Lay on his snowmobile, where the cub received care.
The North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management carried out a health evaluation on Kali and reported the cub to be a young male weighing approximately 18.4 pounds and estimated to be 3-4 months of age.
"It’s still unclear where he’ll go. That process (of determining where he’ll go next) has yet to begin," Woods said. For the mean time The Alaska Zoo will care for Kali until a home has been found. Kali is said to be eating enthusiastically and there is no indication there’s anything wrong with him.
[Photo credit: John Gomes / The Alaska Zoo]