Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic

Animal Welfare Series
By: , and 

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Abstract

Most programs for monitoring the welfare of wildlife populations support efforts aimed at reaching discrete management objectives, like mitigating conflict with humans. While such programs can be effective, their limited scope may preclude systemic evaluations needed for large-scale conservation initiatives, like the recovery of at-risk species. We discuss select categories of metrics that can be used to monitor how polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are responding to the primary threat to their long-term persistence—loss of sea ice habitat due to the unabated rise in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG; e.g., CO2) concentrations—that can also provide information on ecosystem function and health. Monitoring key aspects of polar bear population dynamics, spatial behavior, health and resiliency can provide valuable insight into ecosystem state and function, and could be a powerful tool for achieving Arctic conservation objectives, particularly those that have transnational policy implications.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic
Series title Animal Welfare Series
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2
Volume 17
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Title Marine Mammal Welfare
First page 503
Last page 527