Alaska Science Center
Wildlife managers need information on the status and trends of populations, and the USGS has focused its polar bear research program on dynamics of the southern Beaufort Sea population. To estimate both the population size and vital rates of the population, we have used mark-recapture studies relying on physical capture of bears, primarily during the spring. We are currently moving towards using genetic identification using tissues retrieved from remote biopsy darts and hair retrieved from barbed wire snares at bowhead whale carcasses. Results of past studies have also allowed us to delineate boundaries between populations and provide information needed to allocate harvests among stocks.