Happy International Polar Bear Day!
February 27, 2018
The Polar Bear
The Polar Bear is the largest carnivore that lives on land. A male can weigh up to 680kg although a female will normally weigh in at around half that amount.
Interestingly Polar Bears only live in the Arctic. They are closely related to the Brown Bear and as a species the Polar Bear evolved relatively recently. On rare occasions the two bears have been known to interbreed in the wild producing a ‘Pizzly’ or ‘Grolar’ and they have also been bred together in zoos. The offspring have been found to be fertile and this is understood to be because they are genetically so similar.
Scientists believe there are about 20,000 polar bears left in the wild.
One of the main challenges for the Polar Bear, living in such a hostile environment, is to keep warm. They manage this with about 10 cm of blubber under their skin. This insulates them from the freezing temperatures and icy winds of the Arctic Circle.
Recently in 2014, scientists revealed that polar bears track one another using sweat glands on their feet. They leave smelly trails all over the sea ice, and this lasting odour can be detected by other bears in the area.
Of all the animals on earth it is perhaps the polar bear whose life is most threatened by global warming. This is because polar bears hunt by using the sea ice as a platform. A polar bear will lie in wait for hours, crouched beside a blow hole used by a seal to breathe in between dives. With its perfect camouflage the bear blends in with the pack ice and the seal is taken by surprise. Furthermore a seal can be detected up to 1.6 km away since the polar bear also has an excellent sense of smell.
Look at this David Attenborough
You Tube film clip
to see a Polar bear hunting.
IDEAS & THOUGHTS
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