Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality

Animal Welfare Series
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Abstract

Historically, the Arctic sea ice has functioned as a structural barrier that has limited the nature and extent of interactions between humans and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). However, declining sea ice extent, brought about by global climate change, is increasing the potential for human-polar bear interactions. Loss of sea ice habitat is driving changes to both human and polar bear behavior—it is facilitating increases in human activities (e.g., offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, trans-Arctic shipping, recreation), while also causing the displacement of bears from preferred foraging habitat (i.e., sea ice over biologically productive shallow) to land in some portions of their range. The end result of these changes is that polar bears are spending greater amounts of time in close proximity to people. Coexistence between humans and polar bears will require imposing mechanisms to manage further development, as well as mitigation strategies that reduce the burden to local communities.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality
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 18 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Marine Mammal Welfare
First page 445
Last page 462