Studying polar bears in the wild is extremely challenging. Polar bears are widely dispersed in a harsh, remote environment, so large-scale studies are dangerous, expensive, and they come with a huge carbon footprint.
Researchers are often unable to perform in-depth field studies, especially when polar bears are hunting on sea ice. Most information on health, condition, and diet of wild polar bears is based on sampling during a short annual field spring season. As a consequence, knowledge of polar bear biology and physiology is surprisingly limited.
Our planet is warming, and the effects are most drastic in the Arctic, where polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt for seals. The more we understand about wild polar bears and the ways they are impacted by climate change, the better action we can take to save them.
But how can the scientific community predict and mitigate the effects of climate change on polar bears if we are still missing some basic information about the species?
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