WATCH: Polar Bears Feast on a Whale Carcass in Alaska

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dozens of polar bears were discovered feasting on the remains of a whale carcass near Kaktovik, Alaska earlier this month. 

According to Unofficial Networks, Kaktovik is a small town that is located in the far north of Alaska on Barter Island. It has notably become a tourist destination to see polar bears. This is due to native Inupiat being permitted to kill three bowhead whales per year. A video of the feast was put on Facebook. The caption reads, “Polar bears having some breakfast in Kaktovik, [Alaska], today…”

The media outlet further reported that more than 1,000 tourists travel to the small Alaska town each September to watch the polar bears feast on the bowhead whale remains that are left by the Inupiat. Due to climate change, the animals are noticeably venturing further south. Because of this, officials in the Kaktovik area estimate that there are more bears on Barter Island in the fall than people who live there (which is around 280). 

National Geographic States that Kaktovik Is the Best Spot on Earth’ To see Polar Bears in the Wild 

In a December 2021 article, National Geographic stated it believes that Kaktovik is the “best spot on Earth” to see polar bearish the wild. 

While speaking to Riley Barnes, who went from being a stuntman to giving Kaktovik Arctic Tours, he shared that since working on the island, the number of polar bears has varied from day to day. However, he has never failed to find at least a few in the area. 

It was noted that the best time to visit Kaktovik is between May and September. This means that the highs are around 46°F and lows of 16°F. Outside of the season, flights to the area notably become less certain and the weather is much colder. Also by winter, most of the polar bears will be out on the sea ice and not as much in the area. 

Are Polar Bears Currently Endangered Species?

According to Polar Bears International, the animal is considered a vulnerable species as of 2022. The reason for this Statius is due to sea ice loss from climate change. This is considered the single biggest threat to the species’ survival. 

It is currently estimated that there are 26,000 polar bears worldwide. Although this seems like a large number, there are also other threats to the species. This includes increased commercial activities, conflict with people, pollution, disease, and lack of habitat protection. This in return causes over-harvest in smaller and declining populations. 

Meanwhile, polar bears currently live in 19 populations across the arctic. About 60% of the population lives within or is shared by Canada. They are also notably found in the following areas: Alaska, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.