Male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have not been successfully instrumented with satellite transmitters because they readily shed collar-mounted transmitters. Seven male polar bears were captured on the pack ice off the northern coast of Alaska and surgically implanted with satellite transmitters with percutaneous antennae into the subcutaneous space of the dorsal cervical region. Transmitters failed prematurely with lifetimes of 30-161 days (x?? = 97 days). Efforts to relocate implanted bears after transmitters failed were not successful. The mean number of location solutions per transmitter was 204 (range 118-369). An average of 10% and 19% of the locations were accurate to <150 m and to 150-350 m, respectively. Our successful tracking of male polar bears, the high quality of locations obtained from transmitters with percutaneous antennae implanted in the subcutaneous space, and the low visibility of such units make further technical development worthwhile if the reason for premature failure of the transmitters can be determined. Copyright 1999 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.
Additional publication details
Subcutaneous implantation of satellite transmitters with percutaneous antennae into male polar bears (Ursus maritimus)