Before Governor Sarah Palin started dominating the national media, polar bears were probably Alaska’s most famous residents. The animals have been in the news this summer after the Interior Department decided to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
This summer the bears have faced the second greatest ice decline on record in the Arctic Ocean. But as the main ice sheet retreated north, it left a thin tongue of broken ice over the food-rich areas of the continental shelf. USGS Polar Bear researcher Steve Amstrup got to see the bears make use of this remaining ice on a recent flight over the Chukchi Sea, and he spoke with us about the climate and bear stories often poorly explained in the media.
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
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