Polar Bear Watch

National Geographic Young Explorer and wildlife photographer Nansen Weber has been going to the same party for 16 years and it never gets old. Each summer for about a month, thousands of beluga whales congregate in Cunningham Inlet, a part of Canada’s Somerset Island. “Basically it’s just a big party, a socializing thing. There’s been speculations that...

By Kitson Jazynka In honor of International Polar Bear Day, National Geographic spoke with Steven Amstrup, who has been studying polar bears in the wild for 35 years. “I couldn’t imagine a more interesting or captivating species to study—giant white bears roaming around in an environment that looks like the surface of the moon,” says...

  My organization Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation has teamed up with fellow National Geographic adventurer Mike Libecki on two new projects. A world-class climber, Mike collected samples for the ASC Scat project and documented polar bear sightings for a pilot project on his latest expedition. Here is Mike’s story about completing the first ascent of Polar Bear...

Thirty years of traversing bone-chilling landscapes littered with hidden crevasses just isn’t enough for renowned polar explorer Børge Ousland, who is now attempting to cross the world’s 20 largest glaciers on the Ice Legacy expedition. Yet there is still one polar danger in particular that Ousland can never quite get used to. “I’ve seen 40-50 polar...

By Xander Zellner for National Geographic Polar Bear Watch A recent study found that greenhouse gas emissions remain the number one threat posed to polar bears. The study, released on June 30 by the U.S. Geological Survey, predicts a decline for polar bear populations across all four ecoregions of the Arctic by the end of the...

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct...

Despite Arctic marine mammals being icons of climate change, little is known about their populations across the Arctic. In a first ever global review of Arctic marine mammals, published last week in Conservation Biology, an international team of scientists provides a circumpolar range assessment. They studied population status and trends for 11 species, including polar bears, ice seals, narwhals,...

By Emily Shenk National Geographic Imagine you’ve drawn a line across a jigsaw puzzle, and you’re following that line from beginning to end. Suddenly the puzzle breaks apart and the pieces move in different directions. How do you follow the line to your destination? In the case of polar bears, the destination is a potential...

  By Laurie McClellan for National Geographic, Polar Bear Watch It’s one of the most elusive superstars of the northern wilderness: the wolverine. Nicknamed “the devil bear” for its fierce disposition, the wolverine is known to hunt moose and even tangle with grizzlies. Yet despite its hunting abilities, this member of the weasel family, closely...

Seals swim in a cold blue abyss. White paws paddle through the icy water, giving chase. Finally, morsels of frozen, skinned seal float into view as the hunter gnaws down on her meal.  It’s the first glimpse of life on Arctic sea ice through the eyes of a polar bear. Footage released earlier this month...

By Peter Mather For National Geographic Polar Bear Watch Early morning light illuminates the sky for a young grizzly bear (at left) as he wades into the Fishing Branch River in search of his next meal. Bear Cave Mountain, which holds some 25 grizzly denning caves, sits behind the river. In the Arctic Circle, grizzlies...

Warning: If you can’t handle extreme cuteness, you may want to look away. Twin baby polar bears at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany, have opened their eyes for the first time. The twin cubs, just five weeks old, have begun to glimpse their mother Giovanna and the rest of the world. (Read more about polar...

By Paul Nicklen with Cristina Mittermeier It had been a long time since I had any feeling in my feet or hands as I sat on the sea ice in Svalbard, Norway, at minus 22°F. I wanted to jump around, stomp my feet, and swing my arms to entice the feeling back into my frozen...

By Susan McGrath for National Geographic Polar Bear Watch   In Barrow, on the northern coast of Alaska, the sun sets at five o’clock on October 31, and the temperature typically drops into the single digits. This doesn’t faze the town’s schoolchildren. They dress up and go trick-or-treating door to door just as American kids...