Two polar bear cubs nestled against their mother on the sea ice of the Beaufort Sea. Polar bears travel and hunt on the sea ice, which itself can drift many kilometres per day. We used data on the movement of polar bears and sea ice to understand how ice drift can affect estimates of home range size. Such estimates are often used to assess the amount of space required for animals to perform the activities essential for their survival and reproduction. We show that current methods, which ignore drift, can misrepresent the home range size for polar bears and present a new approach to study the space use of polar bears and other species living in moving environments. Photo taken by Marie Auger-Méthé, April 2011.
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