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Weekly Highlights for 3-7-2012

Departmental/Bureau News

USGS Scientist Participates in the US-Russia Polar Bear Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska
Dr. Lily Peacock, USGS Alaska Science Center research wildlife biologist, will be participating in the US-Russia polar bear scientific working group meeting March 14-16, held at the National Park Service building in Anchorage, Alaska. The United States and Russia share research and management obligations for the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear subpopulation, one of 19 subpopulations worldwide. The U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission was formed to oversee implementation of the "Agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation on the Conservation and Management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population (US-Russia Agreement)", and the Scientific Working Group was appointed to provide scientific support to the Commission. The Scientific Working Group will discuss and compile a report to document new research findings, review harvest recommendations, develop recommendations to assess the potential impact of anthropogenic stresses on the Alaska-Chukotka subpopulation, develop an outreach document on the status and biology of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear subpopulation, and develop a joint U.S.-Russia research strategy.
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000

New Partnership Aids Polar Bear Monitoring
USGS Alaska Science Center polar bear biologists Seth Stapleton and Anthony Pagano will be working with biologists from the Yukon Territories and Northwest Territories conducting distance sampling aerial surveys of polar bears from March 17 - March 30. Working from a helicopter, survey transects will be conducted up to 100 km offshore over the sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea in Canada. Research will be based out of Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and Inuvik, NWT. This is a pilot study to examine the potential to use aerial surveys over the spring time sea ice to estimate polar bear numbers and distributions. This collaborative project includes the USGS, the governments of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and co-management boards and local hunting and trapping committees in Canada.
Contact: Karen Oakley Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7076

USGS Polar Bear Spring Fieldwork begins in March
The USGS Alaska Science Center polar bear group will be conducting its spring capture field research starting March 21 - April 27. Scientists will be capturing polar bears on the sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea between Barrow, Alaska and the Canadian border. Data from this capture research will be used to refine population estimates and vital rates, evaluate polar bear health and diet, and monitor polar bear body metrics. Scientist also plan to deploy satellite radio collars and glue-on satellite radio tags on polar bears to examine polar bear habitat use and movement patterns. For more information about ongoing polar bear research please visit .
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000

Press Inquiries/Media

On March 19 at 11am, USGS Alaska Science Center biologist Lily Peacock will be on KBRW radio (91.9 FM Barrow, AK) together with North Slope Borough Biologist, Jason Herreman to discuss USGS polar bear research, the upcoming spring field season, and polar bears in general.
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000


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