The Beauty Of The Dangerous Polar Bear
Polar Bears are extremely large, white, and dangerous mammals. Yet, there is something beautiful about them. As a wildlife photographer, I just had to set aside the time to photograph them. The two best locations to do so are at the edge of Hudson Bay in Churchill, Canada, and on the ice in Spitsbergen, Norway.
Like other bears, they can spend their share of time sleeping. We waited hours for one to wake up from her nap in Spitsbergen. They are truly magnificent creatures. Capturing photos of polar bears has to be one of the highlights of my time in wildlife photography.
History, Habitat and Facts About North American Polar Bears
The North American polar bear, also known as the white bear, is a subspecies of the brown bear. They roam the Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska and live near the ice edges that form on oceans and large bodies of water. These bears can be found in two different areas: The arctic coast and the arctic islands north of Canada.
The Main Threats to Polar Bears
One of the biggest threats to polar bears is climate change. When the ice melts, it becomes harder for bears to find food and hunt. This can be a problem because their fur isn't waterproof and they must drink a lot of water in order to survive. All this combined with melting ice means there's a lack of habitat for these animals.
Another threat is poaching. The worldwide demand for hunting has been increasing over the years, which has caused the price for a bear cub to increase from $200 in 1970 to up to $10,000 today. Poachers are taking advantage of the vulnerability of these animals. The final threat is oil spills. In 2010, an oil spill contaminated around 1,000 square miles in Alaska killing hundreds of bears in one fell swoop.
The White Bear Facts
With their thick fur, these animals cope with temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius. Their fur is not only an insulator (keeping them warm), it's also waterproof (which protects them from getting wet or even soaked).
Here are some more facts about North American Polar Bears:
-There are between 20,000 and 25,000 bears living in Canada and Alaska
-Polar bears have been around for at least 150,000 years
-Polar bears have black skin underneath their white fur
-The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists polar bears as a vulnerable species.
Why is this animal important?
Polar bears are an important animal to discuss because they're an endangered species. Researchers believe that due to the effects of climate change, the population of these animals will continue to decline. These bears live in areas that are expected to be impacted by climate change, which will make it difficult for them to find food and survive. Climate change is impacting these animals in a negative way and has caused their population numbers to decrease. Polar bears need protection from this issue if their population numbers are going to increase again.
Polar bears are the largest carnivores on earth. The United States has two subspecies, the Alaskan Brown Bear and the Kodiak bear. There are 19,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the world but they are under threat from climate change. They are making less and less of their traditional prey due to the retreat of sea ice which they use as a hunting platform. Polar bears are also threatened by pollution including garbage dumped into the Arctic. These bears are important because they are an icon of the North Pole and an indicator of how climate change is changing their natural environment.