Watch How Researchers Are Tracking Polar Bears in Russia

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Though biologists believe that upwards of half the world's polar bear population lives in Russia, little research has actually been conducted on the vulnerable mammals living in the Russian Arctic. The last of the research took place back in 1974 during the Soviet Union, and it was lost with the collapse of the USSR.

In the video below from National Geographic, researchers attempt to fill in these gaps decades later. The team, helmed by Ilya Mordvintsev of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, circles the unsurveyed south coast of the Kara Sea by helicopter. They then tranquilize and put radio collars on the female polar bears using radio tracking technology. Mordvintsev hopes that we may finally understand their migration routes through these efforts. This research may also prove useful in broadening our understanding of climate change's impact on these Arctic dwellers.