• Sue McDowell

Back to the bears

I mentioned before my fascination with World Wildlife Fund Polar Bear Tracker. Well here's their most recent (1/28/18) data:

Part of why I find this fascinating is that it's a glimpse into the bears "private" life that I doubt many can observe directly. Even if you are a diligent researcher being in the right place, at the right time, to catch the right bear has to be close to impossible in such a rugged, inhospitable environment.

I also find it fascinating that these are three female bears, "purple" and "orange" bear each have 1 cub; "olive" has 2. And all the cubs were born in 2017...so it is possible (though highly unlikely) that I might have seen their moms in the Fall of 2016. Highly unlikely but fun to imagine none the less. I'm also fascinated by how these "solitary" bears have crossed over one another's tracks at least once during their winter travels. This is another insight that perhaps pokes holes in historical anecdotes about the "isolated" and "solo" bear. Who would know? Isn't it possible that a bear, who can smell 20 miles away, could know of another bear and either seek out its company or at least check in on its colleagues range now and again? I have to wonder if they "know" one another? In my mind I wonder if "orange" bear has figured out that there's more food further north and that maybe "purple" and "olive" will follow in that direction soon. Or maybe "purple" and "olive" bear are older and know not to head north? So many questions demonstrates how little we know - even in this information rich age.

What are your thoughts? Do you suspect, as I do, that "solitary" bears may be much less alone than former researchers thought? Are you ever really alone if you have senses that can help you locate your kin (or your enemies) miles away? I seem to be asking a lot of questions in this post this week. So I leave you with a recent fun project I whipped up for my "wooly wednesday" class a few weeks ago. Maybe Hoot can shed some wisdom on bears' travels...I hope we find out more someday too.

#WWF #cubsoftheyear #HOOT