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Scientists Put A Camera On A Canadian Polar Bear And Watched It Do Bear Things

1. Ever wonder what polar bears get up to when they’re not being Canada’s most adorable death machines?

Ever wonder what polar bears get up to when they're not being Canada's most adorable death machines?

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Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty Images

2. A group of researchers strapped a camera collar to a polar bear on Akimiski Island in the southern tip of Hudson’s Bay and let it do its thing.

3. The camera captured the bear doing such bear-like activities as getting a refreshing sip of water.

Although putting a camera on a wild bear is cool enough in itself, the purposes here were scientific.

“We’re trying to get an understanding of how polar bears expend energy and how sea ice change is affecting that,” said Anthony Pagano, who works with the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS was one of many collaborators on the project, which also included York University, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Explore.org, and Polar Bears International.

The researchers wanted to see how a polar bear living away from the sea ice spends its time, which is why they picked Akimiski Island, near Attawapiskat First Nation. It’s one of the most southerly places you can find polar bears in Canada.

The camera collar gave them and up close and personal view of polar bear activities like grooming, resting, and foraging.

4. This bear found a tasty berry snack, for example.

Pagano said the berry eating is actually an interesting behaviour considering how little calories they offer for the polar bear’s effort in finding them.

5. It also took in the scenery. As one does.

The collar was also equipped with an accelerometer to track movement and, when compared with data from bears living on sea ice, will give researchers an idea of how different habitats impact the bears.

6. In the mean time, we’re just waiting patiently for the virtual reality version.

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