A costume helps conservation biologist Joel Bergen study how polar bears might affect musk oxen in the Arctic.
[Joel Berger:] “It’s really tough to get inside the mind of a musk ox.”
Arctic musk oxen rarely encounter bears.
But now, climate change may push polar bears and caribou into musk ox territory.
Berger and his team investigated how musk oxen might react to these newcomers.
He approached groups of musk oxen dressed as a caribou…and as a polar bear* to see if the animals would ignore him, flee or charge.
The scientists emerged unscathed and are now analyzing the data.
*Editor’s Note: The original costume included white gloves, but they were not warm enough to use in the experimental trials.
Executive Producer: Eliene Augenbraun
Producer: Lydia Chain
Photography and Footage: Sergey Abarok, Grigory Nikolaevich, Lizza Protas/WCS
Stock Footage: Getty
Special Thanks: Joel Berger, Steve Mirsky, Wildlife Conservation Society