National Geographic : 1979 Oct
A charging polar bear scatters a herd on a Chukchi Sea ice floe (above). The author and his col leagues speculate that bears rush whole groups, hoping to seize the slower calves before they reach the water. On a 1977 expedition they saw a young polarbeardragthe re mains of a calf acrossthe ice (left). Upon retrieving the carcass, they made a remarkable discovery. Af ter killing the calf, the bear had in cised a hole in its neck. Gradually, as it devoured the walrus, the bear had peeled the skin back and turned it completely inside out, like a coat sleeve. When the re searchersrighted the skin, all they found was an empty hide (right). Eskimos have hunted walruses for centuries, using nearly every portionof the animals,from hides for boats to whiskers for tooth picks. Protectedfrom unrestricted hunting, walrus populations now appearto be increasing.Futureoil exploration in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, however, couldpose environmental threats.