Movements of a polar bear from northern Alaska to northern Greenland

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Using satellite telemetry, we monitored the movements of an adult female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as she traveled from the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast to northern Greenland. She is the first polar bear known to depart the Beaufort Sea region for an extended period, and the first polar bear known to move between Alaska and Greenland. This bear traveled for four months across the polar basin and came within 2 degrees of the North Pole. During the first year following her capture, she traveled 5256 km. Evidence to suggest her use of maternity dens in northern Alaska and in northern Greenland demonstrates the potential for genetic exchange between two widely separate populations of polar bears. The long life spans of polar bears and the rarity of their long-range movements means the significance of interpopulation movement can be assessed after long-term monitoring of individuals.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Movements of a polar bear from northern Alaska to northern Greenland
Series title Arctic
DOI 10.14430/arctic1257
Volume 48
Issue 4
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Arctic Institute of North America
Publisher location Calgary, AB
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 4 p.
First page 338
Last page 341
Country Canada, Denmark, United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Arctic Ocean, Greenland
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