Polar Bears’ Path to Decline Runs Through Alaskan Village

Dec 18, 2016

By Erica Goode

KAKTOVIK, Alaska — Come fall, polar bears are everywhere around this Arctic village, dozing on sand spits, roughhousing in the shallows, padding down the beach with cubs in tow and attracting hundreds of tourists who travel long distances to see them.

At night, the bears steal into town, making it dangerous to walk outside without a firearm or bear spray. They leave only reluctantly, chased off by the polar bear patrol with firecracker shells and spotlights.

On the surface, these bears might not seem like members of a species facing possible extinction.

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