Polar bear monitoring
The Norwegian Polar Institute’s polar bear monitoring programme was initiated during the 1960s, and is now one of the longest-running series for Svalbard fauna. The majority of the data in this time series comes from the annual field trips to capture and mark polar bears, and record dens in key areas.
Since the late 1980s, data has been acquired from over 1,500 polar bears, including more than 700 recaptures, which have provided information on body condition, survival rates and reproduction during a period with substantial changes in the environment. It has also enabled many studies to be carried out relating to ecotoxicology and habitat use.
The den studies have revealed dramatic changes as regards den locations in relation to changes in ice conditions. This monitoring programme is also contributing many useful research results within the fields of demographics, population genetics, diet, health and disease.