Bears inhabiting active ice moved more than those inhabiting consolidated ice (12 versus 8 km/day), but their activity throughout the year did not differ (bears of both groups were active for 21% of the day).
Consolidated ice shows less spatial variation from year to year and from season to se ason, and it has less primary productivity (Stirling et al., 1993; Stirling, 1997).
Bears inhabiting active ice had a greater rate of movement than bears inhabiting consolidated ice during spring (12.7 [+ or -] 1.0 versus 8.4 [+ or -] 0.6 km/day), summer (12.0 [+ or -] 0.7 versus 8.6 [+ or -] 0.4 km/day), and winter (11.8 [+ or -] 0.8 versus 5.2 [+ or -] 0.6 km/day).
In contrast, bears inhabiting consolidated ice were more active in spring (24.3%) and summer (22.2%), and less active in autumn (16.3%) and winter (16.0%).
We recorded a greater movement rate for polar bears inhabiting active ice than for polar bears inhabiting consolidated ice during three of four seasons.
During winter, polar bears in active ice areas recorded greater movement and activity, suggesting greater hunting opportunities than in consolidated ice areas.
Adult seals are likely the most difficult to hunt during winter, and they occur at low densities in areas of consolidated ice. Hard snow and stable ridges, characteristic of consolidated ice in winter, also reduce foraging opportunities and success for bears.