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Posts Tagged ‘polar bears’

Polar Bears!

Posted by Laurie Frost on May 17, 2010

While browsing at the US Geological Survey’s photo collections, I thought I’d have a look around, and what I found in its Animals album are some more polar bear images for you. Based on blog stats, public domain images of polar bears are popular, so add these to the three posts of mine that featured the bears last year (one, two, three).

Interestingly, a number of these shots were credited to a Coast Guard photographer, so I thought I’d have a look there, too, and while I was at it, check to see if the US Fish and Wildlife Service had any new pictures.


Title: On Thin Ice
Description: A polar bear slides across thin Arctic Ocean ice Aug. 21, 2009.
Date Taken: 8/21/2009
Photographer: Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard

Title: Polar Bear
Description: A polar bear rests on the ice Aug. 23, 2009, after following the Coast Guard Cutter Healy for nearly an hour.
Date Taken: 8/23/2009
Photographer: Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places, US Coast Guard, US Geological Survey | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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:

Restrictions for Using NOAA Images

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].anim00412

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].anim0038

anim0036This 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].anim0035

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 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:

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:

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

FWS Images of Alaska’s Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 27, 2009


The Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library  isn’t all about polar bears and Alaska, but since polar bear is one of the search terms by way of which people land on this blog, and because it is just too hot these days, I decided that selections from its Arctic jpg’s would make a good introduction to the FWS as a source for public domain images.  

 But what we need to get our bearings is a map. Here’s one, an 1897 map from the Library of Congress entitled Millroy’s Map of Alaska and the Klondyke Gold Fields. If you visit the site, you can use the zoom feature.








 If you look right below the tip of Siberia as it reaches into the Bering Strait, close to the Alaska-Russia border, you’ll see the island of St. Lawrence.  This area  is where Ellizabeth Labunski took the  picture of the polar bear above. Elsewhere (?) in the Bering Sea she photographed the seals on which they prey, and another huge carnivore of the Arctic, the walrus, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.









 The first is a ribbon seal; the other, a bearded seal. These walruses also live in northern Bering Sea.



Head north in the Bering Sea and you reach the setting for a few other FWS pictures of polar bears, Cape Lisburne. On the map, if you look directly across from the word Strait, there’s a peninsula, and at its tip is Cape Lisburne, where Gerry Atwell photographed these polar bears:

cape lisburne

In many, maybe most, cases the descriptive information accompanying the FWS images is good. But in others, it is frustrating. Ellizabeth Labunski’s polar bear pictures identify their situation as 40 miles southwest of St. Lawrence Island, but the walruses and seals are far more vaguely documented as found somewhere in the northern Bering Sea. And consider this shot of two polar bear cubs. There is no indication of where the photo was taken, and the photographer is not credited.


I’m sure you’ve noticed by now a lot of ice in these pictures. The FWS categorizes polar bears as marine mammals. They have their young on land, but follow the drifting ice to hunt. As the ice in the Arctic decreases, their survival prospects diminish.

Look below for some sites I came across to learn more about polar bears.

→ → → → → → → → → →

Departing from public domain materials: 

The following are either certainly or perhaps copyright-protected — that is, not public domain.

A video graphic showing how polar bear migration routes off the North Slope are linked to the Arctic ice pack off the North Slope is featured in the polar bear pages of  Wandering Wildlife: Satellite and Radio Telemetry Tracking Wildlife Across the Arctic at theUS Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center. I don’t know the copyright status of this. There is also a disturbing picture and account of the first documented case of cannibalism among polar bears, likely caused by the receding ice fields’ impact on hunting grounds for the bears.

US Geological Survey: a blog , Arctic Chronicles, has a posting with video of a polar bears taken during a 2008 expedition to map the Arctic seafloor. Although this video was shot by a government employee, I’m not certain if it is public domain or  if the copyright is held by their creator, Jessica Robertson, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ever wonder what would happen if a walrus and polar bear battled to the death? Then check these videos out (note: Videos are not in the public domain).  Polar Conservation has video of an actual battle. Much blood is involved. For a different outcome, head over to Animal Planet and watch its virtual battle.

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Where the Polar Bears Roam

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 23, 2009


It’s not yet noon and outside my window it’s closer to a 100 than to 90. What better time to stop over at the Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS] to have a look at their public domain pictures of polar bears? The FWS site features a digital library described as:

a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video and that are in the public domain. You are free to use them as you wish – no permission is necessary. We do ask that you please give credit to the photographer or creator and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a format similar to the example below.

Credit: John Doe/USFWS

Items are added on a regular basis to the library, so if you don’t see something you are looking for today, it may have been added the next time you visit.

Most items in the National Digital Library are compressed RGB, JPEG, or PDF files. Most records have low resolution JPEGs that are suitable for web use. This is the display image at the top of the record. High-resolution images are linked below the display image…

Image categories include birds, wildlife, plants, invertebrates, fisheries, habitats, history, and more.

Susanne Miller photographed the polar bear family [above] and these two bears along the Beaufort Sea coast:


walkbeaufort sea

And where, you ask, is Beaufort Sea? It is way, way, up there. Perhaps this map of polar bear dens in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge will help:


More information about this map can be found here. And see that village at the top center of the map? That is Kaktovik. The Kaktovikmiut people despise the FWS radio-collaring of bears (and other animals) that provided the data for the map above. On the City of Kaktovik website a fascinating document, In This Place: A Guide to Those Who Would Work in the Country of the Kaktovikmiut, — and the website as well — declares in a most unusually blunt manner the perspective of the people whose homeland this is:

From the website:

The notion of wilderness came to the North Slope in the early 1950’s with its discovery by a small group of committed outdoor recreationists. With the publication of their view of our homelands in “The Last Great Wilderness” we disappeared, our homeland became something it had not been for thousands of years: devoid of people. Simultaneously, our homeland became the subject of great interest and concern to thousands, perhaps millions, of people who had never laid eyes on it and who in any case could not see that we continued to fully use and occupy the country.

And from In This Place, first on oil exploration, and then a comment on FWS biologists:

The thing that concerns us the most about this oil activity is that we are told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency we find most possessive, most insensitive, most destructive and most obnoxious, will be the one agency assigned to protect the country from harm should oil developmentproceed here. That would clearly be tragic, for us, for our lands and waters, and for the other creatures who share our country. We have no confidence in these people to care, to understand, to respect, or to protect anything here. . . .

We have enough stories about this to fill many books, of the damages done by people who come here to study things, such as the fellow with Fish and Wildlife Service who killed more polar bears figuring out how to radio-collar them than have ever been killed by all the industrial activity in the entire arctic since the beginning of time. His excuse was he had to figure out about polar bears before they were all killed by the oil industry.

The Kaktovikmiut are native Inupiat. Eskimo is a term commonly — but not accurately –used to refer to these natives of Alaska’s Arctic Coast.  The North Slope region referred to above is an 89,000 sq mile borough [NSB] bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, which also serves as western border, Canada to the east, and south to the Brooks [mountain] Range. Barrow and Prudhoe Bay are in the NSB, and Barrow is some 1300 miles south of the North Pole and 4,300 miles from Key West.

Yesterday’s high in Barrow was 35, with a low of 29.seaBeaufort Sea with Brooks Range in background

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Polar Bears and Blue Angels, Submarines and Ships of the US Navy

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 1, 2009

Polar bears attract my attention these days since I am a big fan of Iorek Byrnison, king of the armoured bears of Svalbard, and one of the few admirable adults in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Once Upon a Time in the North. Now, armoured bears aren’t polar bears — after all, they wear armour and talk, for starters — but in our world polar bears resemble them in a few ways: both are left-handed and both are formidable and intimidating, in or out of armour.

I was hastily scrolling through one of those Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: emails of unusual pictures, when I stopped at  an image of a polar bear and what was identified as a — submarine!



No link was given, but submarines were mentioned, so I quickly found my way to the source, a photo gallery at the US Navy website. On its “About this site” page, you’ll find:

The purpose of this website is to provide information and news about the United States Navy to the general public. All information on this site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise specified. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.

I’ve collected credits at the bottom of the post.

The photos in the gallery are well-captioned. For example, this one is about the polar bears:

Arctic Circle (Oct. 2003) — Three Polar bears approach the starboard bow of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Honolulu (SSN 718) while surfaced 280 miles from the North Pole. Sighted by a lookout from the bridge (sail) of the submarine, the bears investigated the boat for almost 2 hours before leaving. Commanded by Cmdr. Charles Harris, USS Honolulu while conducting otherwise classified operations in the Arctic, collected scientific data and water samples for U.S. and Canadian Universities as part of an agreement with the Artic Submarine Laboratory (ASL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). USS Honolulu is the 24th Los Angeles-class submarine, and the first original design in her class to visit the North Pole region. Honolulu is as assigned to Commander Submarine Pacific, Submarine Squadron Three, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. U. S. Navy photo by Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs. (RELEASED)

And don’t you like too how the photographer is mentioned by name?

This incident wasn’t the first visit by polar bears to a submarine.



Near the North Pole (Apr. 27, 2003) — During Exercise ICEX 2003, the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) surfaced and broke through the ice. This polar bear, attracted by the hole which can be used to find food, was seen through the sub’s periscope and these photos were captured as the image was projected on a flat-panel display. After investigating the Connecticut for approximately 40 minutes, the bear left the area, with no damage to the sub or to the bear. U.S. Navy photo by Mark Barnoff. (RELEASED)

While at the site I decided to have a look around. Here are some examples of what I found, although they are not truly representative. As you might guess, most are of Navy ships, helicopters, and other vessels. But there are hundreds of others among the several thousand public domain images.

Hornet strike fighters from precision formation Blue Angels squadron at a performance in Virginia Beach:











These three are part of a series of photographs documenting a rescue at sea:

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 12, 2008) Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Zachary Gillespie and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 3rd Class Phillip Gonzales both assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Detachment 5 embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), hoista Norwegian man from the ocean-going tug SVC Tanux II during a searchand rescue medical evacuation. Kearsarge launched a search-and-rescue aircraft in response toan emergency medical distress call. The victim was transported to Guyana for further medical evaluation. Kearsarge is supporting the Caribbean Phase of the humanitarian and civic assistance mission Continuing Promise 2008, an equal partnership mission between the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erik Barker/Released)







Finally, some ships:

Landing craft air cushion vehicle in Djibouti, April 2009; and the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), MS-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, and the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Bridge in the Indian Ocean, 2008.



Credits — all US Navy

3 bears: 031000-N-XXXXB-001; standing bear: 031000N-XXXXB-003; b&w bear: 031000N-XXXXB-002. Photographer: Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs.

b&w standing bear: 030427-O-0000B-001.jpg, 030427-O-0000B-001.jpg. Photographer: Mark Barnoff.

Blue Angels: 080920-N-5345W-196. 080920-N-5345W-197.jpg Photographer: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher S. Wilson.

Rescue: 081112-N-9620B-010, 081112-N-9620B-0112, 081112-N-9620B-013. Photographer: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erik Barker.

Landing Craft: 090401-N-0506A 559. Photographer: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt.

Destroyer: 080823-N-1635S-002. Photographer: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Scott.

Posted in Animals, People, Places, US Navy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »