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Study Forecasts Poor Future for Polar Bears

By Xander Zellner for National Geographic Polar Bear Watch A recent study found that greenhouse gas emissions remain the number one threat posed to polar bears. The study, released on June 30 by the U.S. Geological Survey, predicts a decline for polar bear populations across all four ecoregions of the Arctic by the end of the…

Face-to-Face With a Polar Bear in the Arctic

By Kitson Jazynka for National Geographic Polar Bear Watch When you’re on an expedition in the Arctic, National Geographic Explorer Paul Rose says, you should always be prepared for polar bears. It’s a good idea to have cooking pots ready to bang together, or a flare gun to discourage a bear from coming near. But…

No Ice in Sight: Polar Bears Scrabble Onshore to Find Food

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct…

First Global Review of Arctic Marine Mammals Reveals Uncertain Future

Despite Arctic marine mammals being icons of climate change, little is known about their populations across the Arctic. In a first ever global review of Arctic marine mammals, published last week in Conservation Biology, an international team of scientists provides a circumpolar range assessment. They studied population status and trends for 11 species, including polar bears, ice seals, narwhals,…

Polar Bears Use Scent as a Trail of Bread Crumbs

By Emily Shenk National Geographic Imagine you’ve drawn a line across a jigsaw puzzle, and you’re following that line from beginning to end. Suddenly the puzzle breaks apart and the pieces move in different directions. How do you follow the line to your destination? In the case of polar bears, the destination is a potential…

Elusive Wolverine Caught on Camera

Nicknamed “the devil bear” for its fierce disposition, wolverines are tenacious predators. Photographing the animal was a mixture of luck and perseverance for photographer Peter Mather, who spent a month trying to capture an image of one in the Canadian Yukon.

The First Look at Arctic Life on Ice Through the Eyes of a Polar Bear

Seals swim in a cold blue abyss. White paws paddle through the icy water, giving chase. Finally, morsels of frozen, skinned seal float into view as the hunter gnaws down on her meal.

It’s the first-ever glimpse of life on Arctic sea ice through the eyes of a polar bear.

An Arctic Haven for Grizzlies

In the Arctic Circle, grizzlies roam throughout the Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) Territorial Park in the Canadian Yukon. This 2,500-square-mile ecological reserve is home to a significant population of grizzly bears, as well as chum salmon, gray wolves, bald eagles, moose, and caribou.

“World First”: Watch Polar Bear Cubs Open Eyes

Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo catches twin cubs opening their eyes—the first such video ever recorded.

Polar Bear Mating: A Chance of a Lifetime

Paul Nicklen, a wildlife photographer for National Geographic, witnesses a male polar bear attempting to mate with a female in Svalbard, Norway.

Study Finds Condition of Polar Bears in Arctic’s Chukchi Sea Stable Despite Sea Ice Loss

By Emily Shenk   A recent study found that the condition of polar bears in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea has remained stable despite sea ice loss, while the condition of another population in the Beaufort Sea has declined. The researchers studied the overall health and reproductive rates of polar bears in the Chukchi Sea, located…

A Real-World Approach to Preserving Polar Bears in Alaska

Alaskan communities are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build community awareness around sustainable polar bear harvesting practices.

Study Links Arctic Sea Ice Loss With Changes in Atmospheric Circulation

By Emily Shenk National Geographic A skier crosses the Arctic Ocean, where the extent of summer sea ice has declined by about 30 percent during the last three decades. Photo by Dan Westergren A study published in the International Journal of Climatology in May adds to the growing research linking melting sea ice in the Arctic…

Exploring the Natural History of Polar Bears

Icon of the Arctic, the polar bear thrives in the remote Arctic landscape of ice and snow. World-renowned polar bear scientist Ian Stirling offers his thoughts on the state of polar bears in the wild, the threats they face today, and insights from his recent book, Polar Bears: A Natural History of a Threatened Species.

Did Polar Bears Really Lose at CITES?

Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 16th Conference of Parties held in Bangkok in March rejected a proposal to ban international trade in polar bears and their parts. The decision caused a stir because polar bears face a precarious future. While some non-governmental organizations were deeply disappointed by the failure to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would have banned all international trade in the species and their parts, Steven Amstrup—a renowned polar bear scientist—believes that limitations on trade don’t address the real challenge facing the iconic animals.