Polar Bears in the Deep Offshore Regions of the Beaufort Sea: A Preliminary Study to Estimate Distribution and Density in Previously Under-Surveyed Areas, 2011–2012

Lead: Norm Snow, Joint Secretariat

The potential presence of polar bears in the deep waters of the offshore region of the Beaufort Sea has been a longstanding interest of Inuvialuit communities, but scientific surveys for bears in this region have never been undertaken. This study involves an aerial survey in early March 2012 to document the distribution and density of polar bears in the deep offshore region of the Beaufort Sea. Preliminary estimates of bear density in the offshore region will enable regulators to better understand the potential effects of offshore oil and gas development activities on these marine mammals. At the same time, results from this study will help guide further studies into population structure in this part of the Beaufort Sea, eventually leading to a longer-term understanding of polar bears in the region.


The final project report is now available Aerial Surveys for Polar Bears in Offshore Areas of the Northern Beaufort Sea