Luke Groskin talks about his experience in the Arctic

Luke Groskin, Video Producer at Science Friday, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss his experience in the Arctic.

TRANSCRIPT

Joining me now is science writer/video producer Luke Groskin.

You got to be in a helicopter with someone who was shooting a polar bear.

Yeah.

It was definitely one of those things on my bucket list, and I can definitely cross it off.

It was 16 hours of flying, and it was pretty grueling.

And I have tremendous respect for these guys and their professionalism out there.

They're really giant animals, and, you know, you get some perspective when you start to look at them, you know, lifting them up and cutting some hair.

What's she doing?

Well, she's trying to get as much biometric data as possible.

I mean, you mention the weighing of them.

When I was out there, they weighed a 600-pounder, but this thing dwarfed -- You know, I put my hand up to it, and its paw was, like, this big.

And she's collecting all this data.

She's going to get hair, feces, fat sample.

She takes a tooth, a vestigial tooth, at the back of the animal's mouth that doesn't affect the animal's ability to hunt or eat.

And you can actually get the age of a bear based on the rings inside the tooth.

So she gets all this data, and then she compiles that into, like, a big spreadsheet with all this data from 10 years of bears out on the Chukchi Sea, which is that space right between Alaska and Russia.

And then she can make assessments about the population based on the nutrition of these bears.

How well are they eating?

How well are they reproducing?

These bears -- how long does it take them to wake up?

Because they're kind of in a drowsy state during this whole process, right?

Oh, yeah.

That was a big question that I had while I was out there.

About an hour after we sedated a bear and they've done all their work, I'm like, 'Have they ever woken up on you?'

And she was like, 'No.'

Thankfully, they've never woken up on her.

But there was definitely a moment where the researchers were like, 'Okay, Luke, it's time to get back in the helicopter, 'cause the bear is starting to wake up.'

So, did they make sure?

Did they wait to make sure that everything is okay and that the bear is kind of getting off its feet before they leave?

Yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely.

So, what they do is -- they take off and then they'll stick around, because what they don't want happening is another bear to show up and be like, 'Oh, look, here's a groggy bear.'

That's dinner.

So they want to make sure the bear is okay and wanders off.

And, in fact, while we were out there, we saw a bear that had already been captured a week earlier, and he was doing just fine.

In fact, he took one look at us and was like, 'I'm out of here.'

Luke Groskin of 'Science Friday.'

Thanks so much.

Thank you.