Wildlife and environment
Polar bear
© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Baranov

Scientists perform comprehensive research on polar bears

Russia's leading polar bear experts Stanislav Belikov and Andrei Boltunov have for a second time taken part in the research expedition Kara Winter organized by Rosneft's Arctic Research Center and sponsored by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

The experts' task was to discover how many polar bears live in areas of future hydrocarbon exploration on the Russian and Arctic shelf, the Arctic-info news agency reported. The scientists did not only monitor the animals from onboard their ship and register all of the polar bears they saw, but also boarded a helicopter to search for and immobilize a number of them. This allowed the experts to study the polar bears and perform biometric measurements, take samples and provide them with microchips. Afterwards, the animals were returned to their habitat.

The information collected during the expedition will be carefully studied. For example, the toxicity tests will reveal the background levels and composition of anthropogenic contaminants in the polar bears. Immunological and microbiological tests will help analyze the health of bears of different ages and genders in various areas.