Scientists in the Field

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The Polar Bear Scientists

By Peter Lourie

It is springtime on the North Slope of Alaska, and the U.S. Geological Survey team is gearing up for polar bear capturing. During a capture, all information is collected on the sea ice. The scientists locate bears from a helicopter, tranquilize them, give them tattoo ID numbers and tags, and collect data such as height, weight, and body fat measurements and samples such as blood, hair, feces, and even teeth. All this information goes into a large database studied by scientists involved with the Polar Bear Research Project. What has this information been telling scientists about polar bears and global warming?

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