July 2013

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The Long Fast Begins
 
With the ice melting out from under them, the seal feast has ended for the Western Hudson Bay polar bears, who are heading back onshore to begin the long fasting period before the ice forms again in late fall. This year, the first satellite-collared bear swam to shore on July 4th--not early by current standards, but a full month earlier than good ice years in the 1980s.
Swimming bear close up
The question now, writes scientist Andrew Derocher, is how well padded the bears are from the spring feasting season of fat seal pups--and how long it will take for freeze-up to come this fall.
 
"Variation in behavior, energetic demands, and hunting success means that some bears will be more vulnerable than others," Derocher says. "Every year some bears come ashore in above average condition, but just as many are below average. It's the bears below average that we're most concerned about."

 

In the Arctic as a whole, sea ice coverage this summer is well below normal, but higher than the bad ice year of 2012. Sea ice expert Cecilia Bitz explores the summer ice situation in her blog post, Watching the Sea Ice.
 
Saving arctic sea ice is all about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. You can become part of the momentum for change by taking the challenges in our Save Our Sea Ice
campaign.
Polar Bears in the Classroom

 

HP Polar Bear Logo
Thanks to a partnership with the HP Catalyst Academy, PBI has developed a free online mini-course that focuses on polar bears, climate change, and how students can help. The self-paced course provides STEMx content and helps teachers meet Next Generation Science Standards. To learn more about the course, including future dates,
visit the HP Catalyst Academy 
website.  
Guest Post: The Bounty of the
Polar Desert
By Nicholas Pilfold

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to join my supervisor, Dr.
Andrew Derocher, for a spring field season tracking polar bears in Viscount-Melville Sound. One week after returning, I had lunch with Dr. Nick Lunn, Alysa McCall, and Dr. Ian Stirling. |more 
 
Arctic Species of the Month:
Narwhal
Narwhals

The single, spiraled tusk of the male narwhal gave rise to the myth of the unicorn when specimens began arriving in Europe. Classified as whales, these arctic marine mammals are related to the beluga. They're found primarily in the waters of the Canadian Arctic and around Greenland, where they feed on relatively few prey species (mostly arctic fish, shrimp, and squid) in deep waters under the sea ice. Like many arctic species, they're considered vulnerable due to global warming.    

 

Fun fact: The long tusk seen on narwhal males is actually a tooth that can measure six to nine feet long. Scientists have discovered that the tusk is highly sensitive and can detect temperature, motion, and pressure.

Funny Bear
In This Issue
 
The Long Fast Begins
Polar Bears in the Classroom
Guest Post
Arctic Species of the Month: Narwhal
It's the middle of July.
The ice is melting.
And polar bears need your
help just as much now as
they do in the dead of winter. 
We hope you'll consider
making a mid-summer
donation to support out
conservation efforts. Or maybe
works better for your budget--
either way, we appreciate your
ongoing support!

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube
Cool it Down!Polar Bottle

 

Check out the newest addition to our online store--the PBI insulated water bottle by Polar Bottle. The 24-oz. BPA- and phthalate-free bottles fit a standard bicycle water bottle cage and are made from locally sourced materials. And a portion of the sales of each bottle benefits polar bear conservation!

Featured Sponsors
FNA Transparent Polar Kreuzfahrten PAV Logo
Quark
As summer kicks in
in the northern hemisphere, so, too, does travel to the Far North. This month we'd like to thank our partners Frontiers North AdventuresPolar Kreuzfahrten, Poseidon Arctic Voyages, and Quark Expeditions for their generous support of our research and education programs.
Volunteer Spotlight
Philip Fensterer
Keeper, Oregon Zoo
Philip Fensterer    For the second year in a row, PBI Leadership Camp graduate Philip Fensterer successfully led a 100-mile Cycle for Change bike ride to raise awareness about the role cycling can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Philip has also issued
September bike commute
challenge
. While the challenge is aimed at PBI's network of Arctic Ambassador Centers, he invites one and all to form a team on the Bike Commute website and join. "Just remember to put your team in the Cycle for Change League," he says. The PBI office is in! What about you? 
Video of the Month

 

Ilka Nurses her Twin Polar Bear Cubs

 Have you been watching the twin polar bear cubs and their mother, Ilka, on the cam by our partners explore.org and the Scandinavian Wildlife Park? Here's a rare view of Ilka nursing her young cubs.

Honor Icon
 
 
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Give as a GIFT or in HONOR or MEMORY of someone special. Or, add us to your monthly budget with an
ENDURING PLEDGE. All donations are tax-deductible
and help us attain our goal of conserving polar bears.
 
 
You can also join us on your favorite community sites
and share PBI with your friends and family.
 
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We thank you for your continued support.

Conservation through research,
education, anaction.

Photo Credits:
Swimming Bear, Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com;
Nicholas Pilfold, Andrew Derocher;
Bears on Shore and Slumping Bear, Dan Guravich;
Funny Bear, BJ Kirschhoffer;
Narwhals, Glenn Williams, National Institute of Standards and Technology

2013 Polar Bears International. All Rights Reserved.

 



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