US polar bears mark their territory

More than two years after Alaskan polar bears were given a protection status of “threatened species” by the US Endangered Species Act, the Obama administration set aside on Wednesday 24 November 484,330 sq kilometres — twice the size of the UK — in Alaska as “critical habitat”.

Almost all of the area is offshore sea ice habitat — where polar bears spend most of their time hunting seals, breeding and travelling—in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska’s northern coast. It also includes on-shore barrier islands and land used for making dens. About 4,800 polar bears ramble along Alaska’s ice and shores.

The story continues at Nature’s blog The Great Beyond

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