Genetic Mark-Recapture

Both genetic mark-recapture and physical mark-recapture are similar in basic study design, involving pursuit by a helicopter, and relying on the unique marking of individuals.  However, in contrast to physical mark-recapture, genetic mark-recapture does not rely on chemical immobilization and handling of polar bears.  Instead, DNA is extracted from a small sample of skin and hair collected via a biopsy dart fired from a helicopter.  The tissues contain a DNA code unique to the each individual (i.e. the mark).  Gender can also be determined via genetic analysis.  The recapture event occurs when either the bear is biopsy darted on a later occasion or when a genetic sample is recovered from a polar bear killed during a subsistence harvest.