By studying polar bears at the southern edge of their range, where sea ice loss is greatest, scientists can predict what will happen with other populations as the Arctic continues to warm.
Use and Trade [top] Use and Trade: The principal use of Polar Bears is for subsistence purposes Obbard et al. Whole Polar bear ecology may be used for subsistence needs, kept as trophies, or sold on open markets.
The financial return from the sale of legally taken Polar Bear hides can provide important income for local people in Canada and Greenland. Sport hunting of Polar Bears only occurs in Canada and must be guided by local Inuit hunters.
While communities can decide whether or not to allow sport hunts, these hunts must be accounted for within the annual quota assigned to a community; sport hunts are not additive to the quota.
Sport hunting can be a major source of income for remote settlements because the financial return from the hunt greatly exceeds that of the hide value Foote and Wenzel This Polar bear ecology provides an important infusion into local, cash limited, economies.
The harvest level has been thought to be sustainable in most subpopulations PBSG Although poaching, or illegal hunting of Polar Bears, is not thought to be of major concern, recent reports suggest that illegal hunting in eastern Russia may be as high as bears per year Kochnev At present, the PBSG is assessing the status of this problem in all jurisdictions.
Polar Bear based tourism, including public viewing and photography is increasing.
Well established in Churchill, Canada, it is increasing in other remote areas, including Svalbard, Norway, and to a some extent in locations on the north coast of Alaska primarily Kaktovik and to a lesser degree Barrow.
Polar Bear products are in trade. The range of different products and units of measure used in records makes it difficult to relate trade data to number of polar bears in trade.
Export of Polar Bear products from Canada, where most polar bear products in trade originate, represented between and individuals in the period Canadian CITES authorities pers. Greenland introduced a voluntary temporary ban on export of Polar Bear products in Threats [top] Major Threat s: Anthropogenic and natural changes in Arctic environments, as well as recognition of the shortcomings of our knowledge of Polar Bear ecology, are increasing the challenges for Polar Bear conservation and management.
Higher ambient temperatures and erratic weather fluctuations, symptoms of anthropogenic climate change, are increasing across the range of polar bears. Polar Bears are dependent upon Arctic sea ice for access to their prey. Their dependence on an ephemeral habitat that exists as a function of sea surface and atmospheric temperatures means that climate warming poses the single most important threat to the long-term persistence of Polar Bears Obbard et al.
Arctic sea ice loss has thus far progressed faster than most climate models have predicted Stroeve et al. Because changes in sea-ice are known to alter Polar Bear abundance, productivity, body condition, and distribution Stirling et al. Arctic sea ice extent is linearly related to global mean temperature, which in turn, is directly related to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations Amstrup et al.
Population and habitat models predict substantial declines in the distribution and abundance of Polar Bears in the future Durner et al.
Although Polar Bears living in historically colder regions of the Arctic might derive transient benefit from a climate-driven transition away from multi-year ice Derocher et al. In other parts of the Arctic, the 5-month ice-free threshold may be reached by the middle of the 21st century Atwood et al.
Nevertheless, uncertainty and regional variability in the near-term effects of climate change must be included in Polar Bear management and conservation plans. Although there have been local and regional studies on polar bear denning habitat Kolenosky and PrevettMessier et al.
It is also unknown how climate change will change denning locations and habitats, though predicted increases in forest fires may have adverse effects on maternity denning habitat in sub-Arctic regions Richardson et al. Declining sea ice availability can impair the ability of pregnant females to reach traditional denning areas Derocher et al.
The occurrence of diseases and parasites in Polar Bears is rare compared with occurrences in other ursids. As a result, the potential for exposure to pathogens and resulting disease outbreaks may become more significant threats as Polar Bears experience the cumulative effects of multiple stressors Patyk et al.
The warming climate has been associated with an increase in pathogens in other Arctic marine and terrestrial organisms.
Parasitic agents that have developmental stages outside the bodies of warm-blooded hosts e. Improved conditions for such parasites have already adversely affected the health of some Arctic mammals Kutz et al. Bacterial parasites also are likely to benefit from a warmer and wetter Arctic e.
Because of the previous limited exposure of Polar Bears to diseases and parasites Fagre et al. Many different pathogens have been found in seal species that are Polar Bear prey; the potential therefore exists for transmission of these diseases to Polar Bears Kirk et al.The polar bear, king of the Arctic, is one of the world’s most recognizable animals.
Images of the majestic beasts roaming across the ice cap, plunging into frigid waters, and playing with furry cubs have come to symbolize the beauty and grandeur of the Arctic. Ecology and behaviour of the Polar Bears.
One of the most fascinating species to observe in Northern Canada is the Polar Bear. During the winter months in the Arctic regions, it is dark all day long, and the polar bear populations gather for the long winter months.
Posts about polar bear ecology written by susanjcrockford.
When you really want to challenge a speaker at a scientific meeting or public lecture, deciding what’s the best question to ask is often difficult.
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) depends on sea ice for feeding, breeding, and movement. review is part of the virtual symposium “Flagship Species – Flagship Problems” that deals with ecology, biodiversity and management issues, and climate impacts on species at risk and of Canadian importance, including the polar bear.
WWF has also successfully advocated for the creation of an international polar bear management plan. Reducing conflict WWF supports community projects in Alaska and Russia to prevent unintended and potentially fatal . A key element for understanding and detecting the impacts of climate warming centres on how various elements of polar bear ecology may change, the order and time frame of change, and the patterns of change (e.g., linear, non-linear, or chaotic).
We predict both sudden short-term and longer-term changes in both the ecosystem and in polar bears.