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Polar Bears on Thin Ice

Skating on thin ice.  That could be the story line for polar bears this past summer in the Norwegian Arctic.  When I was up there in the waters around Svalbard, Norway it seemed as if the ice was disappearing faster than in previous years.  Without ice the polar bears, don’t have a platform from which to hunt seals, the main source of fat rich food.

We did get lucky and see a good number of these, “ice bears”, from the deck of our ship, Lindblad Expedition’s National Geographic Explorer.  Part of the reason for our good fortune may have been due to bad news for the bears in that there were more open seas and less ice on which they could roam or hide out.  Sometimes we would spot the bears off in the distance and slowly move the ship towards them, and other times the bears would spot us and come in for a closer look.

Lindblad naturalist Steve MacLean talked with me for my radio show National Geographic Weekend about some of the problems facing polar bears and other arctic creatures due to a warming planet.  Here’s part of that interview as well as video of some of the polar bear action we got to enjoy.



  1. Kevin Graham
    Edmonton, AB
    November 23, 2012, 7:23 pm

    Polar bears could not survive in Antarctica simply because they migrate south in the spring and summer. This is where and when polar bears procreate and give birth in the winter months in the north. There is no solution to their plight as species but to call off the ice-breakers and at the very least extend the time they have left.

  2. Sue McColl
    Seattle Wa
    November 6, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Another very timely post. We are ignoring the warning signs from our wildlife. Lets spread the word to try and save these amazing, beautiful bears! Can they adapt soon enough to hunt on land? Great video!

  3. Clayton Conger
    October 30, 2012, 11:07 pm

    Since there are plenty of seals in Antarctica, and since they are plentiful inshore because they prey on penguin, wouldn’t Antarctica be an appropriate environment for polar bears?

  4. Shaleen
    October 30, 2012, 2:59 pm

    We need to act fast to save them..