Rare polar bear sighting in Sisualik summer camp, about 10-11 miles north of Kotzebue, AK.
Observation: At least one polar bear has been hanging around the fish camp, Sisualik (community seal/fish camp), where at least one family lives year round. A woman and her 2 year old granddaughter were cutting seal observing what they thought was a seal in the ocean, walked out of the ocean and toward them. She realized it was a polar bear and ran with her child and grand daughter back to the camp and called on a Citizens Band (CB) radio for help. At a different camp the same week, a father went outside to start his generator. He left the house and his children in the house, he started the generator and turned back to the house, to be faced with a polar bear between him and the kids. Eventually he made it into the house, and called for help on the CB.
Sisualik historically has seen polar bears 30-50 years ago, in the past 20 years or so, the bears have moved much further north following the sea ice. Now, because they are looking for food, they are moving further south and are hungry, which makes them dangerous to the families who still utilize the camps all summer long. Maija Lukin, LEO
Alaska Department of Fish & Game – "Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are most abundant near coastlines and the southern edge of the ice, but they can occur throughout the polar basin. They make extensive movements related to the seasonal position of the ice edge." Source: Wildlife Notebook Series, ADF&G
Polar Bears International – "Floods. Droughts. Heat waves. Massive storms. Climate change isn’t currently just a threat to polar bears or the Arctic. It has a profound impact on people—with effects that will intensify unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Made up of a small group of passionate conservationists, scientists, and volunteers, PBI exists to help secure a future for polar bears across the Arctic." To learn more, look at the world’s foremost resource for information on polar bears and their Arctic habitat, provided by Polar Bears International (PBI).
Polar Bears and Humans: Safety Guidelines – "Most polar bears avoid people and have historically inflicted few human injuries and fatalities. However, the combination of curious and occasional sudden aggressive behavior creates the potential for human injury. In addition, polar bears spending extended periods of time on land without an adequate food source may be nutritionally stressed animals and potentially more dangerous." Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service