In recent years, satellite collars deployed on polar bears have become more sophisticated and many now record time spent in the water, using a saltwater switch (two contact points that carry current between them when in salt water). Recent studies on polar bears in Svalbard and the Barents region show that female bears especially are very aquatic, which is positive given the changing status on sea ice and ice-cover in the region, resulting from climate change.
One female polar bear, wearing a satellite collar was recorded swimming over 400 km (approx. 250 miles), within a week – only stopping to rest on sea ice for some 20 hours of that time. Another fascinating information coming out of this research is that not only do polar bears swim further than previously thought, they also dive deeper.
Read more about this study on the Arctic’s ultimate predator here in JONAA, Journal of the North Atlantic & Arctic.
Photo: JONAA©Jon Aars / Norwegian Polar Institute