Polar bears along Alaska’s Beaufort Sea frequently give birth to young in land-based snow dens.These dens are established in November, typically in deep snowdrifts that have developed in thelee of cut-banks found along streams, rivers, and the coast. Durner et al. (2001, 2006) indicatedthat, for 24 known land den sites, the local slopes ranged from 15 to 50° and were 1.3 to 34 mhigh. The dens faced all directions but east. They published a distribution map based on habitatcharacteristics, presumably reflecting snow drifting, largely bracketing the generally northwardflowing drainages of the region. No attempt was made in the cited studies to model snow driftingexplicitly, though it was recognized that this was an important control on den distribution.
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