Pandemic Winter Bears Finally Find a Home

Pandemic Winter Bears Finally Find a Home

They can travel, but they can't do it all.

A research team led by researchers at the University of British Columbia are working with researchers at Stanford University to figure out the way in which bears would travel to new homes.

Over the years, researchers have studied the Arctic and found polar bear mothers and cubs, but this is the first time a bear has ever considered an occupant.

“When a bear sees a new house, it's a domino effect that causes the adult in particular to be more willing to stay,” the researchers write.

The bear mothers and cubs spend more time outdoors than any other animals in the world, their closest living relative was a polar bear cub. And it's a mother, unlike a western white bear with a hump, that typically brings in about 60-80% of the bear’s total body weight.

For their research, scientists used 23 adult bears at three Arctic bear mothers’ facilities and found, for example, one baby bear at a time for over a year in the Arctic and one at a time in the Mid-Atlantic.

They discovered bears who lived in family-sized holes as opposed to smaller family-sized holes, where a bear’s body and bones may have fallen or injured.

“You can imagine how big a difference a bear might make when they go camping,” study co-author Michael Puffett tells Myecoblog. “As a result, we’re looking at the possibility that if the bear mothers pack up again, it would mean the bears’ ability to travel further and farther is likely to be larger than most of their counterparts.”

Researchers discovered a “bear pail,” also known as ‘white bear pail,’ which is a trademark feature among bears. They also found the pail is more common in eastern North America with eastern, southern New England, and Alaska.

“Many people think the bears are members of the same family. But many scientists think they are one and the same,” Puffett says.

“In general, they work closely with other bears, including many with behavioral changes that are difficult to explain given the different interactions they have with other species.”

Researchers hope these findings will help them look at opportunities to study these bears as well.

“As bears are considered a keystone species for human development and many more endangered species, researchers need to study their behaviors and their effect on the broader ecosystem,” Puffett says.

“It has been the most difficult task to do, but we are working on some of the best solutions we have right now to help them stay at home and be successful in these uncertain times.”

View Article Sources

"Bear Mother's Cub Bome." University of British Columbia.

"Global Bear Census." World Wildlife Federation.

"How Can I Help Save the Arctic from Extinction?" Science.

"A Bear and an Arctic Bear Cub." Science.

"A Bear Mom and Cub's Home." University of British Columbia.

"A Bear Family Home." World Wildlife Federation.

"A Bear Man's Heart." National Wildlife Federation.


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