Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

Did you know that today (February 27) is The International Polar Bear Day?

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) grows up to 2.6 m and can be simply recognized by a thick white fur. Together with Kodiak bear, the polar bear is the largest land carnivore (order Carnivora). Polar bears are widespread in the whole Arctic region. They prefer floating pack ice which they use for traveling. Thus, their geographic range usually reaches the southern area of floating ice.

Polar bear and its prey from BHL
These mammals usually live solitarily and have a great smell. This sense is useful when searching for prey. Polar bears mainly feed different species of seals but they also feed small whales, birds and walruses. Main hunting technique is waiting near a hole in the ice on prey. If necessary, the bears can survive for a long time with their fat reserves, only.

Photo of polar bear by Alan Wilson from EOL

While males of polar bears grow up to mentioned 2.6 meters, females are roughly half that size. They usually give birth to one to three cubs from November to January. Female takes care for the cubs for 2.5 years. It is a well-known fact that these bears can live up to thirty years. Polar bear population is currently between 20 to 25 thousand individuals.

Listen to the voice of the polar bear on Europeana

If you are interested in polar bears and other arctic animals, see Northwest Passage, NortheastPassage and Conquering of North pole in BLE – Expeditions. Stay tuned!

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