December 7, 2023

A lone polar bear cub that was wandering the Prudhoe Bay oil discipline has been evacuated and despatched to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Provider introduced.

It was a exceptional and drastic step for the reason that elimination of polar bear or any maritime mammal from the Arctic is lasting. In this situation, the bear – which was initially spotted in late November in the Prudhoe place – was turning into habituated to folks, officers claimed. Moreover, it was not discovering survival expertise from its mother usually, polar bear cubs are nurtured by their mothers for up to 2 and a half yrs, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The conclusion to get rid of this bear from the wild was not manufactured frivolously,” David Gustine, leader of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s polar bear application, mentioned in a assertion issued Wednesday. Eliminating a bear is not a fantastic final result for the individual or the wild populace, but we felt it was the very best class of motion in this predicament.

The cub located at Prudhoe, a male estimated to be 10 or 11 months old, experienced been viewed feeding on a fox, Fish and Wildlife and Alaska Zoo officers stated in the statement.

That is not shocking conduct for a polar bear on land, explained Amy Chopping, vice president for conservation at Polar Bears International, a nonprofit business.

“They’ll consume just about everything,” she claimed.

But it is far from best for the young bear. “That form of habits, we know, is not more than enough for polar bears to endure since they want that significant-unwanted fat diet,” Cutting stated.

Polar Bears Intercontinental, which encourages conservation and science, was not among the the companies that participated in the bear cub evacuation, though its authorities had been fascinated in the party.

Polar bears typically prey on seals, however a significant portion of the Southern Beaufort Sea populace has come to count on bowhead whale scraps left on beach front web sites following Iñupiat hunters butcher their harvests.

Encounters with foxes also could have exposed the bear cub to rabies, officers stated. The cub is staying checked for that and other attainable issues though it is in quarantine at the Alaska Zoo, Patrick Lampi, the facility’s executive director, claimed in the Fish and Wildlife Services statement.

The cub was in great shape, regardless of its instances and even with being only 105 lbs ., a little lesser than the normal body weight of 130 to 220 kilos for that age, Gustine explained.

Cutting explained she has been in a position to see video clip of the bear in its quarantine at the Alaska Zoo. “It’s genuinely great to see that he’s presently taking part in,” she said. “That’s sending a great signal that he’s thriving.”

The orphaned cub was the initial considering the fact that 2013 to be eradicated from the North Slope. Then, a diverse male cub was captured in Issue Lay just after a hunter shot its mom. That cub, which became named Kali, was taken to the Alaska Zoo and inevitably transferred to the St. Louis Zoo.

In advance of then, a 4-thirty day period-outdated orphaned feminine cub was moved from the Alpine oil subject place west of the Prudhoe Bay field, Gustine stated.

The Fish and Wildlife Company has also assisted in the rescue of at the very least 7 stranded walrus calves from 1999 to 2017. In the most current case, a calf found in Nome was sent to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward for rehabilitation, and then transferred to the Indianapolis Zoo.

Wherever the bear will wind up is nonetheless to be decided. Zoos all around the place, such as the Alaska Zoo, are associates of a species survival plan network, as a result of which they coordinate placement of exceptional animals like polar bears, Chopping explained.

While the initial alternative is for polar bears to stay wild, “we think that modern-day zoos do offer a high high-quality of lifetime for bears,” she stated.

It is not really abnormal for polar bears to develop into orphaned, as maternal bears often die or turn out to be otherwise separated from their younger, Reducing stated. “What’s strange is for people to obtain it,” she said.

In the upcoming, these discoveries may well turn into a tiny more typical.

Polar bears are staying squeezed by two local weather-transform factors, she stated: the reduction of sea ice, which has pushed them to invest a lot more time on land, and the rising human exercise in their habitat. That means there may well be more repeat occurrences of the Prudhoe Bay polar bear evacuation, she reported.

“We’re not going to see a rash of orphaned bears in the spot, but we may perhaps face this scenario much more generally,” Cutting reported.