Polar Bear Day is the day to learn more about and appreciate the importance of these powerful animals. Organizations including Polar Bears International promote awareness of the declining numbers of polar bears worldwide and educate on the importance of finding ways to keep their habitat healthy.
Polar Bear Facts
Polar bears have black skin and although their fur appears white, it is actually transparent.
They are the largest carnivore (meat eater) that lives on land.
Polar bears use sea ice as a platform to hunt seals.
Seals make up most of a polar bears diet, but they also eat crab and muskoxen.
Male polar bears can weigh up to 680 kg (1500 lb). Also, you can tell a male from a female by the length of hair on their front limbs, males have longer hair.
Female polar bears usually only weigh about half as much as males.
Polar bears spend most of their time at sea. Only female polar bears that are about to give birth hibernate.
Scientists estimate that there are around 20,000 polar bears.
Polar bears have 42 teeth.
The scientific name for the polar bear is ‘ursus maritimus’ meaning sea bear, they are the only classified sea mammal.
Polar bears keep warm thanks to nearly 10 cm of blubber under the skin.
Polar bears have an excellent sense of smell, with the ability to detect seals nearly a mile away (1.6 km).
Polar bears can reach speeds up to 40 kph (25 mph) on land and 10 kph (6 mph) in water.
Polar bears live up to 25 years in the wild and 43 years in captivity.
Polar Bear Challenges
During the winter, ice that melted over the summer reforms. Increased temperatures are preventing Arctic ice from reforming to its original state. Global climate change has interrupted the cycle. Greenhouse gases, such as CO2, traps the heat from the sun, causing the Albedo Effect to decrease. Ice reformation has decreased by 40 percent from the 1970s. Lack of ice means lack of food for polar bears as they use ice as a platform to hunt. Also, industrial causes like oil spills damage the underwater ecosystem and food chain. Human interaction also has its risks. Russia outlawed the hunting of Polar Bears in 1956, and Greenland began regulating it in 1994. The United States began protecting the species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 and under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Canada rigorously regulates hunting of Polar Bears where about 500 bears are killed yearly, therefore, causing a decline in the Polar Bear population.
Ways You Can Help
Live cleanly - i.e. change the way you take transportation, eat differently, and recycle etc (in ways you can help reduce greenhouse gases that cause global climate changes).
Political Change - petitioning, supporting your communities and our world’s wildlife. Make sure you voice is heard.