Detecting denning polar bears with forward looking infra-red imagery (FLIR)

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Polar bears give birth in snow dens in mid winter, and remain in dens until early spring. Survival and development of neonates is dependent on the stable environment within the maternal den. Petroleum related activities currently span approximately 200 km of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coastal area. New and proposed developments are expected to dramatically expand the area influenced by petroleum activities. These activities are a potential threat to polar bears, especially as they might disturb denning females.

In order to help manage and mitigate potential disruptions of polar bear denning, we tested whether we could detect heat, rising through the roofs of maternal dens, with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) viewing devices. We tested detectability of dens by flying transects, over habitats known to hold dens, with FLIR equipped aircraft. We recorded flight and weather conditions at each observation and tallied whether or not the den was detected.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Detecting denning polar bears with forward looking infra-red imagery (FLIR)
Series number MMS 2003-042
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Minerals Management Service
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 2 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Ninth information transfer meeting and Barrow information update meeting: Final proceedings (MMS 2003-042)
First page 59
Last page 60
Conference Title Ninth Information Transfer Meeting and Barrow Information Update Meeting
Conference Location Anchorage, AK
Conference Date March 10-12, 2003
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