Waiting for Wildlife
The first question everyone asks: Have you seen any polar bears? Nope. Polar bears are rare this far south, and we’d be very surprised if we see any. But lately the wildlife sightings have been picking up. Last night we saw dozens of seals, with their adorable wide-eyed babies, lying on the ice.
Two people on board spend all day looking for wildlife – that’s their job. Liz Labunski and Marty Reedy work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Their main focus is birds. The last major survey of the birds in the Bering Sea was decades ago, so for the last few years, USFWS employees, contractors, and volunteers have been riding on ships that are going out to do science in this area. “We hitch along if there’s space,” says Labunski, “and we set up our surveys up on the bridge.”
They only survey when the ship is moving; on a day when we’re covering a lot of distance, they can be on the bridge for 14 hours. Today we stopped at an ice station before the sun rose and didn’t start moving again until 6:45 p.m.
Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »