See Alaska from a polar bear’s point of view


In case you were wondering, this is what life looks like from a polar bear’s point of view.

The first-ever video recorded from a free-ranging polar bear on Arctic sea ice has been released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Biologists gathered the first-person footage with collar cams, which were fastened around the necks of four female polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

The clip shows a female polar bear in her element: feasting on a frozen seal carcass that she prepares by tossing into the icy water, and interacting with a male polar bear. (Dinner and a date!)

Video collars and Arctic surveillance come out of a USGS study geared to view polar bear responses to ongoing sea ice loss due to climate warming. Polar bears were categorized as a threatened species on the endangered list in 2008.

“These animals are hard to observe in a natural setting,” Todd Atwood, leader of the Polar Bear Research Program in Anchorage, told Live Science. “This gives us a very unique insight into what they do on a daily basis.”

The collar cams were attached in April and stayed with the bears for eight to 10 days. USGS says that each camera holds approximately 38 hours of footage, and each collar also serves as a fitness tracker. As the tracker records movement, scientists can monitor energy rates and nutrition demands by identifying time spent hunting, walking, eating, swimming or resting.

After a 2013 trial-and-error (USGS’ originally designed cameras couldn’t handle Arctic temperatures), Atwood recalled watching the recent successful footage as a “Gee-Whiz” moment and said there are plans to reuse the collar cams in 2015. More bear videos, please!