10/10/2012 11:44:42 AM

Southern Hudson Bay Polar Bear Study

A new study on the polar bears of James Bay by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, funded in part by PBI, will help answer questions about how these bears faring in a warming Arctic.

James Bay lies at the southern end of Hudson Bay, an area that is experiencing greater sea ice losses than Hudson Bay as a whole. The polar bears that range there live farther south than any other polar bear population worldwide, putting them at great risk from global warming.

Earlier studies suggest that some polar bears spend the entire ice-covered season in James Bay and may be isolated from bears in the larger Southern Hudson Bay population. There are also indications that the James Bay bears are somewhat distinct genetically from other polar bears in the region.

The study will monitor the movement patterns of satellite-collared female polar bears in relation to the sea ice and will document their body condition and foraging patterns.

The study is being led by Dr. Martyn Obbard, a research scientist, and Kevin Middel, an analytical biologist, both with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Collaborators and Participants:

  • Dr. Greg Thiemann, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
  • Brandon Laforest, Ph.D. student, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
  • Trent University, Peterborough

Funding Partners:

  • Polar Bears International
  • Canadian Wildlife Federation
  • Born Free Foundation

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