This may well be as close up to a polar bear you’d ever want to be.
The U.S. Geological Survey posted this video of camera mounted (harmlessly) on a female polar bear southern Beaufort Sea in April, 2016. Scientists placed it there to observe behaviour, feeding habits and the impact of melting Arctic ice.
“Here is a video showing these massive creatures using sea-ice to hunt their prey. Without sea-ice, their access to prey would be diminished,” the USGS said in its Facebook post this week.
We are privileged to watch two polar bears interact, swim, hunt and scrap over food and even, play.
It comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its Conservation Management Plan for polar bears. The service previously used USGS research to list the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.
Currently, 19 populations of polar bears are spread through Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia. The global population is pegged at between 22,000-25,000 bears and is relatively stable.
“However, climate change, contamination of the Arctic environment, potential over-harvest, and increasing human development in polar bear habitat pose conservation challenges for polar bears,” according to the USGS.
The candid camera images are stunning.
Just put this video on a loop.
— USGS (@USGS) January 9, 2017