|a study bear wearing a video collar|
Authors of a study published recently in the journal Science collared nine female to track their hunting efforts over 8-12 days in the Beaufort Sea during 2014-2016. Blood and urine samples show the bears have a high metabolic rate, requiring a lot of food. In the spring bears catch mostly juvenile seals, but as the year progresses the prey is more experienced and becomes more difficult to catch. USGS estimates the additional hunting activity requires 1-4 extra seals a year. Single adults may be able to survive this additional burden, but for mothers nurturing one and two year old cubs, the energy deficit cannot be overcome.
In other polar bear news, a German cruise worker shot and killed a bear on Spitsbergen Island in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago on Sunday. [photo] The cruise company said the bear was shot in "self defense" of another guard employee who was slightly injured by the animal during a landing, and that it "greatly regrets this incident" Polar bears have been protected in Norway since 1973 and nearly 1,000 were counted on Svalbard during a 2015 census. Five fatal attacks have been recorded in the last forty years.