Last of the Polar Bears
Posted by Laurie Frost on July 8, 2009
Polar bears have featured in several of my earlier posts: FWS [Fish & Wildlife Service] Images of Alaska’s Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals; Where the Polar Bears Roam; and Polar Bears and Blue Angels, Submarines and Ships of the US Navy.
Here’s one more set, which are intriguing because they show the size of the bears in comparison to men. The bears are sedated so that they can be tagged by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
First, a statement from NOAA about the public domain status and use of the images in its library:
Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted.
Although at present, no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source.
It’s worth repeating that last line. Remember, you are paying nothing, but you must give credit:
…no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce
The pictures, then more about NOAA in the Arctic. This one of the bears’ huge padded paws was taken by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps, on Alaska’s Beaufort Sea in May 1982 [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].
Captain Christman also shot the next two pictures of bear and man. The man is Steve Amstrup of the US FWS. The caption provided for the second picture below notes that the bear’s neck circumference was 45 inches and his estimated weight, 1400 pounds. [credits: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].
This last picture shows Cpt. Christman with a bear tagged for monitoring in the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program (OCSEAP) studies [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].
There are a number of really fine things about the NOAA site, and we will return to those in later posts, but just for now let me direct you to these pages:
- The NOAA Arctic Theme Page, which includes, among many other resources, a North Pole web cam and reports from the NOAA Arctic Research Program.
- NOAA’s Arctic Science Laboratory
- A 201-page Polar Bibliography (rev. 2008) prepared by NOAA librarian Anna Fiolek. She describes it thusly:
The formats represented in this resource include print, CD-ROM, online full-text documents, digital videos, digital images, online cruise data and Web resources. This document provides full-text access, copyright permitting, to significant Polar documents in the NOAA Library collections. There are over one-hundred-and-fifty electronic references to unique historical documents that have been scanned and made available online via NOAALINC, as well as to scientific datasets available online via the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) Ocean Archive System.
Now, leaving NOAA and departing from our images in the public domain theme, here’s a resource specifically on polar bears:
- Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature] Species Survival Commission. This international group met last week in Copenhagen and their findings about the status of polar bear populations were reported were reported in the New York Times’Dot Earth blog (“More Polar Bear Populations in Decline”).
You can’t think about the future of polar bears without considering climate change. Here are some sites about the disappearance of the sea ice on which the bears live. Again, we’ve departed from public domain resources:
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