In Barrow, on the northern coast of Alaska, the sun sets at five o’clock on October 31, and the temperature typically drops into the single digits. Elsewhere in the world people may be composing the polar bear’s epitaph, but in coastal northern Alaska the great white bears are still a part of everyday life. Native hunters still pursue their millennia-old tradition of hunting polar bears for food and fur.
The bears are drawn to bone piles on land, where locals dump the remains of bowhead whales harvested for subsistence.
The Arctic may be ice-free every summer in as few as 30 years, experts predict, and when ice re-forms in winter it will be thinner, and there’ll be much less of it. The polar bears’ ability to survive in a blue-water Arctic is still uncertain, but the outlook is certainly bleak.
The natural reaction is to turn to the more immediate—if very much the secondary—conservation challenge for polar bears: people killing them, both for reasons of public safety and for the subsistence harvest.
If polar bears face extinction from habitat loss within the century, this thinking goes, doesn’t it make sense to stop all killing of polar bears now? In the Chukchi Sea in western Alaska, biologists find healthy polar bears producing a bumper crop of cubs. Regehr is fresh ashore from the sea ice himself, where this spring he sedated, examined, and weighed 68 polar bears (including a record-setting 1,390-pounder) before releasing them back into the wild. These add to the growing number of bears studied in the Chukchi Sea since 2008 as part of a multiyear research program to understand the ecology, distribution, and demographics of this population.
Regehr’s data show that polar bears in the Chukchi appear to be as healthy as they were 20 years ago. While many conservation-minded people in the Lower 48 assume stopping all polar bear harvesting now must be a good idea, shutting down the culturally important subsistence harvest while bears are still abundant—and increasingly visible in some populated areas—would surely backfire, Regehr believes. What’s more, in the vast, roadless, icy vastness, hunting limits would be nearly impossible to enforce. The approach that will work for both polar bears and polar people, Regehr and others contend, is to use these next few years to lay the groundwork for the challenges ahead. The key is getting hunters, communities, and regional agencies to accept a harvest quota and to participate in its enforcement. The data show that 58 polar bears a year can be sustainably harvested from the Chukchi population today.
FWS and its Native polar bear management partner, the Alaska Nanuuq Commission, are working together to phase in that quota over the next couple of years, building community awareness and mutual trust as they go. Today coastal Alaskan Natives have a cordial and productive relationship with their Chukotkan counterparts. In Russia, all polar bear harvesting has been illegal since 1956, though unofficial reports put the number of bears killed outside the law as high as 100 a year. Alaska, a beautiful place where I thought residents is totally formed by polar bear, now I got there also lives human beings over there. Less ice=more open water=more photosynthesis= more food for fishes=more fish=more seals=more food for polar bears. I like polar bear, event we don’t have them in our country but I want to help and see them in wildlife. Polar bears are an icon of the Arctic realm and an indicator of changes taking place there and globally. On Thin IceThe Arctic is warming so fast that by 2050 it may be largely ice free in summer.
National Geographic VideoJoin photographer Florian Schulz as he seeks to capture a dramatic image of a polar bear.
Kodiak bears are a particularly large subspecies of brown bear, endemic only to the Kodiak archipelago off the Alaska coast. To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option.
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Whatever your interest, you'll be entertained and educated with our collection of best-selling DVDs. During the month of November, National Geographic magazine invited photographers from around the world to submit photos in three categories: People, Places and Nature. We asked Senior Photo Editor Susan Welchman, and National Geographic contributing photographers Stephanie Sinclair and Ed Kashi to judge this year’s photo contest at the Society’s headquarters in Washington, DC, on December 9th.
Ultimately, the judges unanimously agreed the Grand Prize should be awarded to Paul Souders for his image of a polar bear lurking beneath melting sea ice in Hudson Bay, Canada.
But I never set out to be a nature photographer, I wanted to be a news shooter, and I started my first job at a small daily paper in Rockville, Md., with dreams of journalistic glory. MONICA: A near frame of yours won the Animals in their Environment category of the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year photo contest. PAUL: I had two sharp frames of the underwater bear, and the framing was only very slightly different. The bear swam up to the iceberg, ducked under and stayed underwater for several seconds as I moved my zodiac into position and then held out the camera on a six-foot boom near the entrance. I consider myself very fortunate to continue to make a living pursuing work that I really love. PAUL: I like to think I’m past the point in life where I live and die by contest results and the momentary ego boost they provide. What I do appreciate is how contests can bring storytelling photographs to a wider audience, and how they can captivate an audience of millions to see the natural world’s fragile beauty, and to motivate them to take an active interest in experiencing and protecting it. Just loved the Nature image by Paul, this is one of the mind blowing image i have ever seen. This is such a great shot I almost don’t want to disturb it with comment, nothing I say can come close to adding more to it. For too long we have thought of this planet as our own.Possibly this comes through being the dominant species.
Nothing at all redeeming in this photo other than to reinforce the cliche – beauty being held in the eye of the beholder. Why censor the commentary if its truthful and speaks out against this contest which is a scam. Its amazing how the grand prize winner was a photo by pure luck as the photographer could not see thru the view finder to see what the image was or what the composition was. After 35 years of admiring the greatest photographers in NG magazine, it was so pleasant to witness the judging process of such down to earth judges.
This is certainly out of the ordinary, one that fascinates, stirs the heart to the majesty of a place that not all can be at in one’s lifetime; one that moves the heart to heed the loud call for care and preservation of our beautiful planet and all that live in it. Even thought my nature entry didn’t win in the nature category, I do like the polar bear winning photograph. Even though my nature photo didn’t win the nature catagory, I do like the polar bear photo. The polar was absolutely amazing, and make people wants to see what is going happening next. Thanks for these amazona pictures, it is awesome to explore in the way diferente people ese the world. I just came across this though I do get posts from time to time on FB,will there be another contest like this in 2014 and can old photos be used that was taken in 2011 to 2013, if you decide to host another contest like this in Early 2014?. For an ice-dependent species like the polar bear, sea ice losses in the Arctic threaten their very survival.
You won’t want to miss this beautifully illustrated article that outlines the challenges polar bears face as their icy world literally melts away.

In August 1881 the naturalist John Muir was sailing off Alaska aboard the steamerThomas Corwin, searching for three vessels that had gone missing in the Arctic. Were Muir to sail off Point Barrow in August today, any polar bears he'd see would not be living in a wilderness of ice but swimming through open water, burning precious fat reserves. Photos and story are in the July 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands June 28. Every Sunday during the winter, the Coney Island Polar Bears plunge into the Atlantic for a good cold slap.
Each month, National Geographic magazine features breathtaking photographs in Visions of Earth. Japan—A young woman rides an escalator through the kaleidoscopic entrance to the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku mall in Tokyo.
Indonesia—At a slaughterhouse in Kertasura dead snakes are rolled up before being sold for food or traditional medicine. United States—Lightning strikes in Grand Canyon National Park about 26,000 times each year. England—Dozens of muddy men clamber across ropes during the annual Tough Guy competition in Perton.
Australia—Felled by a power line and dead of a broken neck, an Australian pelican becomes an unlikely still life in Brisbane. Canada—On a gravel beach along the Bay of Fundy, two semipalmated sandpipers take off as hundreds more flock together. Canada—Two miles off the western coast of the Hudson Bay and just south of the Arctic Circle, a polar bear comes in for a close-up. Bahrain—In the village of Sanabis, a suburb of the capital, Manama, two Shiite girls take part in an Ashura ceremony. Emirate of Abu Dhabi—As the sun sets on the Liwa region, local tribesmen lead their camels to a grazing area in neighboring Saudi Arabia. England—In the village of Box, George Purser, 77, waters geraniums on a century-old portable steam boiler. Cyprus—When Mediterranean mantises are startled, they wave their forelimbs and raise their wings to reveal vivid eyespot markings. Russia—Snared by a brown bear, a sockeye salmon spills a string of orange roe into Kuril Lake. Papua New Guinea—In Milne Bay schools of fish swirl around the coral-encrusted piles of a crumbling wharf. Germany—The head of a trapped red squirrel pokes through a manhole cover in Isernhagen. Poland—On their way to harvest grain in Policzna, a woman and her grandson share a horse-drawn cart with a horse-headed volunteer promoting a traveling festival. United States—A hundred miles off the southern California coast, near the Cortes Bank, a curious harbor seal peers through a kelp forest. Brazil—Dozens of bioluminescent mushrooms sprout on a dead log, green stems glowing in the light of a full moon. Bosnia and Herzegovina—In Mostar a competitive diver holds torches as he jumps from the Old Bridge into the Neretva River. Russia—Lit by a torch, an ice cave in a Kamchatka glacier glows like an entrance to the underworld.
United States—Joining hands in a heads-first free fall to form a human snowflake, 138 skydivers set a world record at Skydive Chicago in August 2012.
United Kingdom—Heather fires smoke during a controlled burn in West Burrafirth in Shetland. South Africa—Through the dust of a dry riverbed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, an African white-backed vulture advances on an antelope carcass. Go behind-the-scenes with our storytellers and join conversations about photography, art, and journalism. Select your travel style--whether it's our signature expeditions, our active outdoors adventures, or our lower-priced journeys. Our newest small-group trips, provided in partnership with G Adventures, blend fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful cultural encounters, as well as more free time and choices. A high Arctic archipelago situated between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is a place of deep fjords, snow-capped mountains, massive sheets of ice, and magnificent polar bears.
Search for the very symbol of the Arctic—the polar bear—and observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Take naturalist-led shore walks, and cruise among beautiful passing icebergs in a Zodiac or a kayak. Experience the legendary midnight sun: the ethereal light of the northern summer, when the sun never sets. Depart Oslo on a private charter flight, and enjoy breathtaking vistas en route to Longyearbyen. This voyage is undertaken in the spirit of discovery, and our travel in the archipelago is exploratory by design. With our National Geographic photographer and a seasoned naturalist staff, venture to the foot of stunning tidewater glaciers, kayak among sparkling icebergs, and explore fjords that split the rugged coastlines. A diverse team of experts, including naturalists, historians, and a National Geographic photographer, will accompany each expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Sisse Brimberg has produced more than 25 stories for National Geographic magazine over the last three decades. And the odd bear strolling through a town or village is a common sight—an increasingly common one, as climate change shrinks summer sea ice. So while the FWS currently is tackling the issue of people killing polar bears, its approach may come as a surprise. Real-world conservation stays firmly rooted in science, but with a clear view of conditions prevailing in polar bear country. Marine Mammal Protection Act recognizes the importance of traditional, subsistence harvest and can only limit it in the direst of circumstances,” Regehr explains. We received more than 7,000 entries from over 150 countries, with amateur and professional photographers across the globe participating. Several hours later, after multiple rounds of editing, the finalists became clear and the real debate began. After realizing the photographer had won an award in another contest for a very similar photo, we thought it would be interesting to hear from Paul directly. The Manitoba population of polar bears, the southernmost in the world, is particularly threatened by a warming climate and reduced sea ice.
But it’s still the same mission, telling stories about the places I see and the wildlife I encounter. I entered the BBC contest right at their deadline, and never compared the two side by side. I didn’t fire until she came up to breathe and take a look at me, and I kept firing the shutter as she submerged again.
I was lucky enough to begin a photo career at a time when you could earn at least some sort of meager living at it. I think the photo of the polar bear, typifies the impact we as humans are having on other species. I believe photography is all about light, about being there and getting that certain never to be repeated moment, and ultimately evoking emotion. By always taking the road less traveled (or in this case dingy), you’ve reached the top! The photographers are getting raped by the national geographic and other photographic contest out there.

It was so unreal to me I kept looking at it and looking at it…thinking it was photoshopped. Sea ice provides crucial habitat for the Arctic's top predator, but warming temperatures are creating extended ice-free periods that tax the bears. Behind her, mirrors reflect the images of shoppers in one of the city’s most fashionable districts. Villagers hunt the reptiles to supplement their income—and feed the billion-dollar global snake trade. Thirty-five couples in Mumbai participated in the ceremony, which was arranged by a Muslim social organization to cut costs for poor families. To turn tragedy into tableau, the photographer made this image using a flashlight and a long exposure—then buried the bird in her garden.
These six-inch-long shorebirds migrate thousands of miles a year from Arctic breeding grounds to South American coasts.
The annual holiday commemorates the seventh-century martyrdom of Husayn, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.
These shifting sands create huge crescent-shaped dunes, which move slowly and can reach 500 feet high. These two adult females, each less than three inches long, were spotted in an alfalfa field near Nicosia. The professional highliner was traversing two cliffs above Rio de Janerio when a coastal front blew in, hiding the half-mile-high summit in mist. Around a million of these fish swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Kamchatka Peninsula each summer to spawn—a book to bears fattening up for winter hibernation. Police freed the rodent by gently pushing back its ears and drizzling olive oil on its neck. Nearly three years old at the time of her mother’s ceremony, Anne was deemed too young to attend.
The 78-foot-tall limestone span—completed in 1566, destroyed by war in 1993, reopened in 2004—is a World Heritage site.
Strategically placed air hoses allow the mermaids to take in lungfuls of air, then perform unencumbered by scuba tanks.
This form of management, known as muirburn, clears old brush to improve both grazing conditions and wildlife habitat. Travel under the midnight sun aboard the National Geographic Explorer and experience nature in its purest form. Hike through miniature gardens blooming on the tundra; and search the edge of the pack ice for polar bears, walruses, seals, reindeer, and arctic foxes. Founded by an American coal executive in 1906, this is one of the northernmost human settlements on Earth. Her work ranges from documenting the life of fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen to her latest National Geographic project chronicling the Viking culture. Visitors might notice a higher level of supervision here, though—armed wildlife agents patrolling on ATVs to keep polar bears from trick-or-treating the kids. I left the paper 20 years ago and I’ve worked as a travel and wildlife photographer ever since. Once it won its category in BBC (but failed to win the grand prize), I kept staring at the lower right hand corner, where the ice edge is cropped, and it started to bug me. She hung there, just below the surface, watching me, then came up for another breath before swimming away.
A newspaper photographer’s salary wasn’t much, but at least it was a job, and an amazing training ground where I got to shoot pictures every day. Hopefully it will make people think twice before taking weekend trips across the globe etc. For example 10,000 dollars is as illusive as a polar bear, cause no one crosses there minds around the taxes, so the photographer at most gets 6,000 back.
Makes it even more special that something so unreal looking turn out to have an even more amazing story behind it. Meteorologists, though, react to the slightest fluctuations in temperature: One degree can mean the difference between a bit of rain or a lot of snow. On an afternoon tour of this charming city, stroll among the famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in terraced parklands.
Brimberg won first prize for “Picture Story of the Year“ from the National Press Photographers Association for her story on migrant workers. I couldn’t see her from where I sat in my small zodiac boat; I was shooting blind with the wide angle. Noticing a good background and anticipating some subject might show up was what I did at that moment.
Contrary to Al Gore’s prediction that there would be no polar ice cap by this year, sea ice coverage spanned nearly 2,100 cubic miles by the end of this year’s melting season, up from about 1,400 cubic last year.
Most average people cant afford a non funded trip to the antarctic to take pictures of polar bears. Amstrup, talks about the threats to this iconic species in the July issue of the National Geographic magazine—but emphasizes that time remains to save them if humans take action to reduce CO2. Visit the Fram Museum, showcasing the polar ship Fram and dedicated to one of the explorers and wooden vessels that navigated the Arctic Sea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With our fully stabilized ice-class expedition ship, we are able to probe the ice in search of wildlife; our exact day-to-day itinerary remains flexible, depending on local ice and weather conditions. Born in Denmark, Brimberg established and managed her own photo studio in Copenhagen after attending photography school. Never one for half measures, I packed up everything I owned and drove 4300 miles to Anchorage, Alaska, to take a job at the state’s biggest newspaper. It’s one of those little details that can make a picture work just a bit better, but not something I even noticed or cared about initially.
I sensed it was a unique situation, but the first thought in my mind was that I really didn’t want to screw up.
Sounders just went through a trip a least worth 25,000 dollars across the Antarctic with his top notch camera gear. So a good photograph is elites I swear when I look at these photographs from the National geographic they are standardized, there is no soul from the photographer. Zodiacs and kayaks take us closer to experience the region's geologic features and wildlife and wildflowers that flourish during the summer months. Her photographs have been exhibited around the world in Germany, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, New York City (International Center for Photography), and Washington, D.C. I’d already dunked the remote radio trigger and camera into the salt water, and had to jury rig a replacement cable by chewing off the copper wires and hand-splicing it together. I worry that it’s much, much harder for the next generation of photographers to make a living and build a career.
The formula is the same: people from the 3rd world, exotic places that most human beings cant go or is illegal to get a boat and sail over. And knowing the lawyers and disadvantages the photographer is, the National geographic just ripped the photographer from his owned money.

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