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1 November 2012 Response Behaviors of Svalbard Reindeer TOwards Humans and Humans Disguised as Polar Bears on Edgeøya
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Abstract

Due to observed interactions between Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during field work on Edgeøya, Svalbard, we measured response distances for reindeer from a stalking polar bear and improvised five approaches from a person disguised as a polar bear for comparison with human encounters. The alert, flight initiation and escape distances were 1.6, 2.5 and 2.3 times longer, respectively, when Svalbard reindeer were encountered by a person disguised as a polar bear compared to a person in dark hiking gear. Population increase of polar bears on Svalbard and decrease in sea-ice cover in the Arctic region during summer probably results in more frequent interactions with reindeer on the archipelago. Similar reindeer response behavior from encounters with a polar bear and persons disguised as polar bears indicate a predator-prey relationship between the two species on Edgeøya.

© 2012 Regents of the University of Colorado
Eigil Reimers and Sindre Eftestøl "Response Behaviors of Svalbard Reindeer TOwards Humans and Humans Disguised as Polar Bears on Edgeøya," Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 44(4), (1 November 2012). https://doi.org/10.1657/1938-4246-44.4.483
Published: 1 November 2012
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