Polar bear makes longest recorded swim | WWF

Polar bear makes longest recorded swim

Posted on 16 August 2005    
Polar bear diving in Hudson's Bay, Canada.
© WWF / Terry Domico
Skadi, one of the polar bears we're tracking on the Polar Bear Tracker website with the help of the Norwegian Polar Institute, has been recorded swimming at least 74km in one day - and maybe more. This is believed to be the first conclusive proof that polar bears cover such a great distance in the water.
 
The female bear, equipped with a satellite tracking device, entered the water on the east of Svalbard on July 20, swam northeast and re-emerged on the island of Edgeoya a day later.
 
This is the first time that such a long swim has been documented by satellite telemetry for polar bears.
 
A sensor on the bear's collar sent different signals when it was in salty sea water compared to on land or on ice.
 
Skadi had probably swum closer to 100 km since the bear almost certainly did not swim the 74km between the two points in an exact straight line.
 
The bear covered the gap in about 24 hours, giving an average speed of 3-4 km/h -- about as fast as a person walking.
 
The swim probably means that two cubs, with Skadi when the bear was marked in the spring, had died earlier in the summer. Mortality rates among polar bear cubs are high.
Polar bear diving in Hudson's Bay, Canada.
© WWF / Terry Domico Enlarge

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