Good bears

The thing that keeps worrying me is the rapid change we see in the Arctic. This year again there was very little sea ice. Already in May, when I arrived on Spitsbergen, most ice was gone…
Throughout the summer we saw many very thin bears on land, resting or sleeping most of the time to save energy. When we reached the ice, things were better. There most bears were average or a little fatter.

Looking at the ice conditions this autumn and winter, it doesn’t look any better. There is still hardly any ice around the archipelago (see here: This means that pregnant females had no possibility to get to their denning areas in an easy way. They can swim long distances, but that costs a lot of energy, energy they can’t use to support their cubs…

It’s a sad thought to know that in my lifetime I’ll see an Arctic without any sea ice in summer…

Natureview photography

20160624_Arjen_Drost_9252.jpg Polar Bear

So far this season, I had only seen bears on land and they were all very skinny, surviving on little more as a few eggs or some vegetation already for the last months. The bears we saw in the ice had access to seals -the good hunting season for them, with the young Ringed Seal pups, has just ended- and their condition was a lot better. It’s so much nicer to see those relatively fat bears (even though it can be a lot fatter) for a change. And really worrying to see those skinny ones already at the beginning of June…

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Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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