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How a hi-tech search for Genghis Khan is helping polar bears

Researchers are going on a bear hunt, using AI and radar to spot dens and track the threatened Arctic predators

Genghis Khan got his dying wish: despite attempts by archaeologists and scientists to find the Mongolian ruler’s final resting place, the location remains a secret 800 years after his death. The search for his tomb, though, has inspired an innovative project that could help protect polar bears.

“I randomly tuned into the radio one night and heard an expert talking about the use of synthetic aperture radar [SAR] to look for Genghis Khan’s tomb,” says Tom Smith, associate professor in plant and wildlife sciences at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah. “They were using SAR to penetrate layers of forest canopy in upper Mongolia, looking for the ruins of a burial structure.”

To argue that someone’s disturbed a polar bear den, you need to know what normal denning behaviour is

Anything we can do to keep polar bears and people safe is a good move

Related: Most polar bears to disappear by 2100, study predicts

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