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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear’

Farmers Deposit Seeds in Arctic Doomsday Vault, Patrolled by Polar Bears

February 18, 2011 Comments off

Matthew Hall

Farmers from Australia are the latest donors to a polar bear-patrolled Arctic doomsday vault that stores seeds as insurance against an international food emergency.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a converted mine, is located about 800 miles from the North Pole in Arctic Norway.

An Australian delegation of farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the vault, intending to protect the plant species from extinction by climatic or man-made events.

Snow blows off the Svalbard Global Seed Vault at sunrise, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008. 

John McConnico, AP
Australian farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, shown here in 2008.

“It’s a very robust structure, concrete, made into the Read more…

Polar bear’s long swim illustrates ice melt

February 3, 2011 Comments off

Searching for food, one female bear was tracked as she swam for 9 days across the Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe. Litigation continues over protection of bear habitat.

In one of the most dramatic signs ever documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 426 miles offshore.

The marathon swim came at a cost: With little food likely available once she arrived, the bear lost 22% of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey but did not survive, the researchers said.

“Our activity data suggests that she swam constantly for nine days, without any rest. Which is pretty incredible,” said George M. Durner, a USGS zoologist and a lead author of the study, published last month in the journal Polar Biology.

“We have observed other long-distance swimming events. I don’t believe any of them have been Read more…