Movements and distribution of polar bears in the Beaufort sea

Canadian Journal of Zoology
By: , and 



We fitted 173 satellite radio collars (platform transmitter terminals) to 121 adult female polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and relocated the bears 44 736 times between 1985 and 1995. We regularly resighted many instrumented bears so that we could ascertain whether changes in movements or distribution were related to reproductive status. Mean short-term movement rates were less than 2 km/h for all classes of bears. Maximum movement rates occurred in winter and early summer. In the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS), net geographic movements from the beginning to the end of each month were smaller for females with cubs of the year than for solitary females, and larger in November than in April, May, or July. In May, June, July, and August, radio-collared bears in the SBS moved north. They moved south in October. In the northern Beaufort Sea (NBS), bears moved north in June and south in March and September. Total annual movements ranged from 1406 to 6203 km. Mean total distances moved each month ranged from 79 to 420 km. Total monthly movements by SBS bears were largest in early winter and smallest in early spring. In the NBS, movements were largest in summer and smallest in winter. In the SBS, females with cubs moved less each month than other females. Annual activity areas ranged from 7264 to 596 800 km2. Monthly activity areas ranged from 88 to 9760 km2. Seasonal fidelity to activity areas of bears captured in all parts of the Beaufort Sea was strongest in summer and weakest in spring.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Movements and distribution of polar bears in the Beaufort sea
Series title Canadian Journal of Zoology
DOI 10.1139/z00-016
Volume 78
Issue 6
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher NRC Research Press
Contributing office(s) Alaska Biological Science Center
Description 19 p.
First page 948
Last page 966
Country Canada, United States
State Alaska, Northwest Territories
Other Geospatial Beaufort Sea
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