This spring, WWF-Russia's annual polar bear monitoring expedition uncovered 14 dens and the tracks of 23 cubs near the communities of Vankarem and Nutepelmen. The region's bear patrol, led by the community, surveyed a vast area stretching from west to east for almost a hundred kilometers.
The patrol has noted an increase in both dens and cubs over the past five years. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that there are more bears, says Mikhail Stishov, head of the WWF-Russia's Arctic Program. "It could simply be a matter of redistribution. More research is needed so we can draw more accurate conclusions."
The Bear Patrol was established by WWF-Russia in 2006. This year, the patrol has deployed new technology, like drones, to track the distribution and movement of polar bears and expand the patrol area.
The expedition takes place every year in late March and early April, when polar bears and their cubs are emerging from their dens.
A study released this week in the journal Nature found that that ice sheet covering most of Greenland is melting at an "exceptional" rate.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted new voluntary measures this week aimed at protecting the Bering Strait and Sea from potentially devastating oil spills due to shipping accidents.