For polar bears, the seal pupping season in the spring is a time of plenty—the time of year when fat, naïve baby seals make easy prey. The calorie-rich bounty is especially important to polar bears that live in seasonal ice areas like Hudson Bay.
After the feasting season is over, the summer ice melt isthe next big event on the polar bear calendar. Satellite images show that the ice break-up has started on Hudson Bay, but when it will reach the stage that the polar bears are forced ashore is still unknown.
“We hope the ice stays into July,” McCall says, “because if it breaks up a week or two earlier than normal, hunting time is reduced and so is bear body fat.”
Read Alysa’s latest blog post, and other dispatches from the field, in our Scientists and Explorers Blog. Also make plans to join us this year for Arctic Sea Ice Day, July 12, as we call attention to the longer ice-free periods for this population.