New polar bears on the Polar Bear Tracker
For the last three years, WWF has followed polar bears on the arctic archipelago of Svalbard, between northern Norway and the North Pole. Their positions are beamed from collars on the bears’ necks, via satellite to scientists, and then to our website.
The bears were fitted with radio collars in April 2006 by Magnus Anderson and Jon Aars, polar bear researchers with the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI).
The researchers noted the warmer weather this year that allowed them to travel further north.
Anderson said: “This year’s very unusual weather and ice conditions made it possible for us to go to areas that seldom are reachable with ships at this time of the year. There was less sea ice in the Svalbard area this year than recorded in a very long time, and the temperatures were a record high.”
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) recently listed the polar bear as “threatened” on the 2006 Red List of Threatened Species. The species is under threat from climate change, which is literally melting their home.
A total of 80 bears were tagged and 15 were fitted with satellite telemetry collars this season. The bears were also weighed and samples of blood, fat and DNA were collected for analysis.
To learn more about WWF’s work to protect polar bears or to track the bears, visit: www.panda.org/polarbears.