Polar Bear Biologist Geoff York Talks About Polar Bear Capture Work

Video Shot in: 2009

When Arctic Stories first meets biologist Geoff York, a member of the polar bear program at USGS and Arctic Species and Polar Bear Lead for World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) Global Arctic Program, he reflects on the early days of his involvement. Recounting his initial encounters with polar bears, he emphasizes their surreal appearance and the stark contrast of their white fur against the barren landscape. He also shares a harrowing experience from his time with the Marine Mammal project, when they found themselves unexpectedly approached by an adult male polar bear while sampling carcasses. The incident escalated as they attempted to deter the bear, with one team member resorting to firing warning shots and another charging at the bear with a snow machine. Despite their efforts, the bear remained aggressive, displaying intense jaw-popping and pursuing them for a considerable distance. This encounter left a lasting impression on Geoff, as he had never seen such aggressive behavior from a polar bear before or since.