Polar Bear Research
Polar Bear Scientific Research
There have been significant efforts to understand the various aspects of the Polar Bear. There have been many barriers for such research though due to their isolated living arrangements as well as their location. With advances in technology though we have been able to learn much more about Polar Bears in the past 25 years than before.
First, we have been able to use DNA testing to gain more insight about the history and evolution of Polar Bears. This type of testing definitely confirmed that Polar Bears evolved from Brown Bears millions of years ago. There are still many unanswered questions though about the early life of Polar Bears and the connection to how they live today.
In the early 1980’s the use of tracking devices with Polar Bears was initiated. While this type of research has proven to be extremely valuable, it is also very expensive. Since Polar Bears are extremely powerful animals, the process starts in the air. Targets that will put them to sleep are fired. During the sedation period the tracking device can be put into place. Yet these devices don’t always stay on the Polar Bears due to their very active lifestyles. There are also some countries that won’t allow monitoring by this method.
However, even with them in place the overall tracking of Polar Bears isn’t what it needs to be. There is too much about their behaviors and their overall lifestyles that we don’t know. All we can do is assume. Since they spend so much of their time in the water, we need to be able to determine what they are doing there all the time. We know they aren’t always feeding or swimming. Could it be that they simply feel more comfortable in the water than on land or on the ice?
Some areas where further Polar Bear research has been identified as needed include their patterns of movement. What causes a Polar Bear to move as they do? Is it there quest for food or social interaction? Is it only to get to the feeding grounds and for mating season? It is believed that once such patterns are fully understood, the overall distribution of Polar Bears can also be evaluated in more detail.
It is also believed that will allow us to get a better handle on the overall number of them out there. Many argue that conservation efforts shouldn’t be in place because there may be more Polar Bears out there than we realize. Others feel that these conservation efforts are a must if we are to see the number of them grow. We don’t want to make the mistake of waiting too long to help out because of the low process of reproduction as well as the high mortality rate for Polar Bears.
Delayed implantation occurs after conception and that too needs to be evaluated further through research. It is believed that the females are carrying embryos after conception, but that they don’t attach to the uterus for a period of several months. This process also seems to vary based on the distribution of the Polar Bears. That is an indicator that the females have some control over it which is quite a fascinating concept.
Through the various types of Polar Bear research we have learned a great deal about them. Some theories have been credited through such research while others have been discredited. Still, there remain more questions than answers out there about Polar Bears as a whole. Perhaps one day we will have the funding as well as the technology to pursue all of it in more detail.