With warming, polar bears spend less time in their maternal dens

In recent years (2009-2015) polar bears in Baffin Bay come on to land about one month earlier than they did in the 1990s, largely owing to early sea ice breakup. This has reduced the duration of maternity denning by approximately 27 days. Maternity dens are now at higher elevations than they were in the 1990s as pregnant bears seek places with deep snow. In Kane Basin sample sizes were too few to make similar assessments of changes, but the impact of climate warming in Baffin Bay leaves little doubt of its effect on polar bears. The research was conducted by SAFS student Erica Escajeda and SAFS professor Kristin Laidre and appears in the journal Polar Biology.

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