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.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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