Spring is the time of year when polar bear moms emerge from their dens with their cubs. It's also the feasting season for polar bears, with young seal pups making easy prey. Below are snapshots of what each of the bears we follow on our Polar Bear Tracker have been up to.

1. Anuri - X19827

Twenty-five-year-old Anuri and her yearling have been moving non-stop since Hudson Bay froze over. Since we last checked in, Anuri has kept her movements concentrated largely in the northwest region of the bay. This little family has been covering a lot of sea ice in their hunt for seals, even stopping over on Coats Island in northern Hudson Bay briefly in January. Not sure what that was about, but interesting, nonetheless! Anuri and her cub are entering the best feeding time of the year, so it will be interesting to see if they stay in the same area or venture elsewhere to gorge on seal pups and gain as much weight as possible this spring. They have one more year together, so Anuri’s yearling will start helping mom more and more this spring and learning all it can. They seem to make a good team—good luck to them and happy hunting!

2. Arctic Ambassador  - X33203, Arctic Ambassador Centers

Excitingly, it seems that the Arctic Ambassador bear recently made it to the sea ice after leaving her den, and, thanks to scientists spotting her from the air, we know she has three cubs-of-the-year! Wow! As of November, the Arctic Ambassador bear was inland in Wapusk National Park, an area famous for polar bear denning. She didn’t move for months, but a recent location had her heading to the sea ice as of the end of February — right on time. She has probably done a lot of stretching and scratching in the past few weeks so her collar might be dinged up and not transmitting for the moment, but we’ll keep an eye on her and we are likely to get new locations soon. The Arctic Ambassador bear is probably focused heavily on seals right now, ready to gorge on blubber to replenish her own body fat. She’s been fasting for nearly 8 months so is very hungry, not to mention she has three new mouths to feed. We are excited to see her collar pop up on the sea ice soon — good luck to this new (big) family! 

3. Betty White - X33570, explore.org

We are thrilled that it seems like 13-year-old Betty White may have left her den and be on her way to the sea ice, if not there already. She had come inland last fall to Wapusk National Park, a region known for denning, and soon settled down in a den after which she didn’t move for months. All this time, from mid-July to now, she’s been fasting — living off her own body fat even while giving birth and nursing her cub(s). As of mid-February, we saw movement on our tracker and we’re waiting for more data to be downloaded from the satellite. It’s likely that Betty White has been stretching and rubbing her collar a lot, and maybe even getting it wet if a small swim was needed, so there’s a bit of a transmission lag. We hope she’s on the ice, getting ready to gorge on the seals that become more plentiful each spring during pupping season, and that she’s ready to raise her new cub(s).

Portia - X33829, Natural Exposures

Portia is never boring! This 9-year-old was in the denning region all winter, resting, giving birth, and nursing a new cub or two. As soon as she was ready, she headed to the coast which, smartly, was not too far away from where she had chosen her den. As of February 25th she was already on the ice and looking to hunt seals after fasting since the summer. We hope this young mom is doing well with her new family and navigating the sea ice while we enter the spring season, which should have plentiful seal pups to eat. We assume she’ll stay on the move, as Portia does, but she might need to adjust her patterns a bit to ensure her little offspring can keep up. Good luck and happy hunting!

5. Talini - X33565, Canada Goose 

Thirteen-year-old Talini has been on land since June, entering a den in Wapusk National Park in the fall and hunkering down over the winter to give birth and nurse new cubs. The Bear Tracker has not seen her move since (her collar seems to be lagging behind the satellite), but thanks to researchers in the area we know she was seen on March 5th, on the sea ice with two cubs-of-the-year! We are so happy for Talini and hope she is getting plenty to eat after an extremely long fast. The spring is the best hunting time of year for polar bears thanks to seals pupping and providing plenty of tasty and easy-to-catch prey. Talini has to build up her fat stores as fast as possible and start teaching her babies what it means to be a polar bear. Good luck out there, Talini!

6. Vicky - X33881, VICKS

Sixteen-year-old Vicky continues to make swooping movements across Hudson Bay as she hunts seals for herself and now two-year-old cub. If she hasn’t already, she will soon be weaning her offspring (which will then become a subadult and on its own for the first time). Vicky will then turn a new chapter and enter another mating season to start her cycle all over again, hoping to get pregnant and enter a den this fall. But, she’ll need to gain hundreds of pounds of weight if she is going to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Between mating and plentiful food, spring is a busy time for polar bears. We hope Vicky has been able to teach her cub everything it needs to know before it faces this changing Arctic ecosystem by itself. Good luck to them both this hunting season!

Yvette - X17402, Frontiers North Adventures

Looking at Yvette’s tracks compared to other bears is a sight to behold. She likes to move! Yvette seems to prefer the western half of Hudson Bay, but never stays idle within her home range. Yvette is now 21 years old, so she’s learned a few lessons in her time on the sea ice, and this strategy of moving a lot seems to work for her. She also has a two-year-old cub, which she has or will soon wean away. Her cub then will become a “subadult” and will be on its own for the first time this spring, while Yvette will focus on gaining as much weight as possible (hundreds of pounds!) and mating. She’s ready to start the cycle all over again, mating on the ice and coming back ashore this summer and fall to then fast for up to 8 months while she gives birth to and nurses a new cub or two. But, before then, there’s lots of hunting to do and ice to cross. Good luck to Yvette in this new chapter!