Connecting Your Students to Polar Bear Research 2022
Polar Bear Tracking (Females) Feb. 2010
Watching polar bears in the wild has been an incredible experience for me. Seeing them live their life on land and on the sea ice, they seem so wild and free. Like they belong. I can't imagine the Arctic without them, that's why understanding their challenges, their adaptations to the changing environment, and how we can help them. Thankfully there are science organizations like USGS and Polar Bears International doing research and making long term plans to help the bears survive.
Scientists continue to study how a warming Arctic will affect polar bear populations. The new 2022 Polar Bear Research Council Masterplan identifies how polar bears in zoos can help fill knowledge gaps that benefit wild populations. By studying the physiology, behavior, and reproduction of bears in zoos, researchers are getting a better idea of understanding changes to the health and welfare of polar bears in the wild.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center leads long–term research on polar bears to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. Our studies, ongoing since 1985, are focused on population dynamics, health and energetics, distribution and movements, maternal denning, and methods development. The majority of our research focuses on the two polar bear subpopulation’s whose range includes Alaska: the Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation that ranges between the North Slope of Alaska and western Canada and the Chukchi Sea or Alaska-Chukotka subpopulation that ranges between the northwest coast of Alaska and eastern Russia. The overarching goal of our research is to assess current and projected future responses of polar bears to a rapidly changing Arctic environment.
CONNECT YOUR CLASSROOM:
Here is a link to Polar Bear Internationals Educational Page (lesson plans, videos, live webcams and a polar bear tracker) : https://polarbearsinternational.org/education-center/