Stranded polar bears
Photo and caption by Will Rose and Kajsa Sjolander
As the Arctic sea ice retreats over 700 miles from the shore in the autumn, bears must either head north or swim south to land as the ice breaks up. Scientists anticipate that the number of bears on shore will increase as sea ice loss continues. While onshore, every autumn the bears feed on the remains of bowhead whales from the traditional Inupiat harvest. Scientists are using DNA samples from hair snares to understand how the animals are faring as climate change reduces the amount of time they can spend on the sea ice hunting their preferred prey, seals.
Location: Cross Island, Alaska