These Researchers Put a Camera on a Polar Bear

In case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a polar bear

Polar Bear - POV Cams (Spring 2014)

As sea ice melts earlier and more thoroughly, polar bears' traditional habitat is fading away. In response, they are being forced to adapt their habits, and for years the United States Geological Survey has used radio collars to track polar bears as they travel about the Arctic terrain. But this past April researchers used a new tool to gather a much more personal vantage of polar bear behavior—video cameras. 

Four female polar bears were picked to test new video cameras, attached to collars around their necks, says the USGS. The cameras recorded for about a week, and the video above shows some highlights from the journey of one of these bears as she traveled out on the Arctic ice.

Having a first-person perspective is a great way to glimpse into the life of a polar bear and to document the rare personal behaviors of these generally elusive creatures. “Some of the behaviors recorded on camera had never been seen before,” says Becky Oskin for Live Science. “For instance, one polar bear plunked its frozen seal carcass into the sea.”

But this isn't one of those just-for-fun GoPro videos: Knowing how polar bears live and how they may be adapting to climate change could help wildlife managers come up with strategies to help them cope with rapidly changing environmental conditions.

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