A tiny Alaska Native village has experienced a boom in tourism in recent years as polar bears spend more time on land than on diminishing Arctic sea ice.
More than 2,000 people visited the northern Alaska village of Kaktovik on the Beaufort Sea last year to see polar bears in the wild, Alaska's Energy Desk reported Monday.
Village - Visitors - Jennifer - Reed - Arctic
The village had less than 50 visitors annually before 2011, said Jennifer Reed, of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"Today we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of visitors, many from around the world each year," Reed said.
Bears - Sight - Sea - Ice - Kaktovik
Polar bears have always been a common sight on sea ice near Kaktovik, but residents started noticing a change in the mid-1990s. More bears seemed to stay on land, and researchers began taking note of more female bears making dens in the snow on land instead of on the ice.
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