Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Polar Bears Observed Closely

30.05.2005


A specialist of the State Nature Conservation Area “Wrangel Island”, N.G. Ovsyanikov, has been observing polar bears closely for many years, when the bears arrived at the island coast in autumn, once pack-ice recedes. In the researcher’s opinion, perception of a polar bear as a solitary predator, which is not practically tied with its congeners, is not true. Polar bears do not lose sight of each other and build up rather complicated social relations.



When pack-ice starts thawing, bears come down to the coast at the point which is the closest to the block of ice they left, and they slowly go towards one of the traditional walrus-rookeries –Somnitelnaya (Doubtful) spit or spit of cape of Blossom. There are always old walrus skins and bones in that area and sometimes even live walruses. A community of polar bears of different sexes and ages assembles in autumn in those areas or near new significant sources of feed. If feed is in abundance, up to 160 animals may gather in a small lot. Naturally, they permanently meet with each other and are forced to regulate their relations somehow.

Some behavior inertness is typical of polar bears – they may not notice someone or something if they are focused on something else. However, a polar bear would never miss congeners within the field of thier vision or any social events. To be well informed, bears are constantly smelling and “licking” air, thus getting a lot of information. Along with that, every animal continuously watches other bears of the corner of its eye. At the distance of 600 to 700 meters, bears are able not only to see other animal, but also to evaluate its social status and even to recognize a familiar animal, as bears remember familiar animals for years.


Important role in ursine communications belongs to poses and movements, transitions from place to place depending on changes of partners’ position and “expression”. Rich ursine mimic movements include those by lips, nose, ears and eyes expression, but all that is hidden by thick fur on the muzzle. Besides, observers are simply afraid to scrutinize bears for a long time and in detail, therefore, that gave rise to a myth about “impenetrability” of bear’s physiognomy.

In the ursine community, stronger, more experienced and assured animals have advantages over weak and diffident individuals. Other polar bears are afraid of the elite, big males, and the latter, in turn, keep apart but communicate with each other. Adult males often form friendly pairs, which walk, rest and even play together. The elite of ursine society settles down tightly in a prestigious location at the very end of the spit – closer to the sea and food. Their rookeries (round pits) are located practically right up against each other. Females and bear-cubs spend the night in some other place.

A polar bear hunts alone, but the prey can be eaten by anyone who found it. To do this, it is only necessary to come up to the pray in a special “polite” manner, and the meal is ensured. N.G. Ovsyanikov once watched 14 bears gathered around a walrus carcass – some bears were eating, others were waiting for their turn. This custom ensures survival for the animals that are unable to hunt by themselves (for instance, one-year-old orphaned bear-cubs), and gives an opportunity to a successful hunter to eat undisturbed, having to spend no effort on guarding the prey from its competitors.

Polar bears do not only share food, but they can even adop a cub which lost the parents. An opinion exists that big males actively hunt for bear-cubs. However, according to N.G. Ovsyanikov, only some individuals, including females, eat up their congeners and only in exceptional cases when there is no other food. But in extreme circumstances, cannibalism happens even among people.

When the bears go back on ice, the ties between them become weaker, but do not break. Polar bears continue to be guided by each other even in the sea, once they notice a gathering of congeners somewhere, they rush in that direction.

The researcher connects availability of such complicated social relations with polar bears’ high level of mentality and intelligence. Polar bears owe these capabilities to life among ice. Ice relief is very complicated and changeable both under water and on the surface. The landscape constantly changes, so does marks disposition, weather and possible hunting places. Besides, polar bears permanently pass from the above-water world to the underwater world and back. To successfully survive in such conditions, bears need good memory and advanced deductive capabilities. These qualities determine complexity of communication processes in the community and advanced social relations between polar bears.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>