Unusually warm weather deters artic Polar Bear Programme

Unusually warm weather deters artic Polar Bear Programme

12 November 2014

Warm weather is hindering a study of polar bears near the Chukotka village of Vankarem and makes the predators’ migration difficult. “It’s very warm, and the sea isn’t freezing over. Over the past few days, the area has been hit by a wet snowstorm, and the outlook is not optimistic now. We believe that all of this makes it difficult for the bears to move around, complicating their autumn migration from the west of the Chukotka Peninsula to the east, toward the Bering Strait,” Sergei Kavry, an expedition organizer, said.


Over almost two weeks of observation, scientists from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences have only spotted one young female polar bear and the trails of several other animals.


They decided to set up a temporary observation post in a hut four kilometres from Vankarem. Bait was positioned nearby while the hut was equipped to enable the scientists to conduct observation without having to go out.


Researchers are planning to put collars with satellite transmitters on female bears to determine their location and hibernation pattern. The project is being implemented with assistance from the government of the Chukotka Autonomous District as part of the Polar Bear Programme in the Russian Arctic, run by the Russian Academy of Sciences permanent expedition for the study of animals on the Russian Red Data Book. It is funded by the Russian Geographical Society. 


(Photo © Viktor Nikiforov)