February 27th is a day to celebrate all things polar bears, and why not?!
Polar Bears are a fascinating species, they’re not something you see everyday and yet are mesmerising to watch through documentaries or viewing them in their natural habitat. Whilst polar bears are indeed beautiful, they are at risk from climate change and other human pressures, meaning that protecting them has become ever more crucial.
So here’s a list of 10 amazing facts about polar bears, some you may already know and some may be brand new information to you. Ultimately, polar bears are a symbol that we must care for nature and through means such as sustainable tourism, travellers can help polar bears… and by understanding polar bears, they can in return, help us.
We hope you enjoy #WorldPolarBearDay
The Polar Bear name is a combination of the Greek “Thalasso” meaning sea and “Arctos” meaning bear of the North.
Polar bears are the only bear species to be considered marine mammals, as they spend their lives on sea ice and depend on the sea for food and habitat.
Polar Bears’ ears and tails are small to limit heat loss.
Polar bear fur is actually translucent, it only appears white as it reflects light. Beneath their thick fur, their skin is jet black.
Polar Bear cubs are nursed inside the den until sometime between the end of February and late April, when they venture out on the sea ice with their mother.
Research shows that after brown bears and polar bears separated into sub-species, there were periods when they came into contact again, with polar bear genes flowing into grizzlies.
Their large paws are specially adapted for swimming, polar bears can swim for long distances and for many hours to get from one piece of ice to another.
In Inuit, polar bears are also named ‘Pihoqahiak’. Inuit people believe the polar bear is an animal worthy of great respect. The ever-wandering one.
Polar bears have a very strong sense of smell, which they use to find seal breathing holes in the ice. Once it has found the hole, the bear will wait patiently until the seal comes up for air to attack.
Climate change is the greatest threat to the polar bear’s survival, along with the oil and gas industry’s exploration for oil, that risks destroying the polar bear’s habitat and polluting its prey with chemicals and pesticides.
All images Copyright. Additional images © Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
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