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The Great White Shark of the North: The Polar Bear

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A magnificent, almost solitary animal surviving in the cold Arctic, slowly losing its habitat.

Mother Polar Bear and Cubs

Mother Polar Bear and Cubs

Arctic Polar Bear

Arctic Polar Bear

Ancestry of the Polar Bear

It has been scientifically proven that the Arctic Polar Bear is indeed descended from the Irish Brown Bear, splitting thousands of years ago. The Irish Brown Bear roamed across Ireland during the bronze, and last ice age going extinct 22,000 B.C

The oldest fossil of a polar bear was discovered in 2004 of a mature male. It was discovered by Olafur Ingolfsson of the University of Iceland. It was found in Svalbard, Norway. Fossils of polar bears are few and far between, possibly because they live on the ice. DNA has dated the jawbone to 110,000-130,000 years old.

Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard, Norway

Irish Brown Bear

Irish Brown Bear

Polar Jawbone

Polar Jawbone

Facts of the Polar Bear

They are only found in the arctic and never on Antarctica.

  • They are the largest four-legged predator
  • They are one of the most mobile four-legged animals
  • They can fast up to eight months
  • They navigate by their nose
  • Their paws measure aa.81" across
  • They rarely attack humans
  • Their diet is mostly seals
  • A fully grown male measures 8-9' tall, female, 6-7' tall
  • Their life span is 20-25 years
  • When born, cubs are the size of an adult guinea pig

A female will dig a burrow in the autumn and spend two to three months resting waiting to give birth. She will usually have twins and after a few weeks, the cubs will take their first steps out of the burrow. The cubs will spend 24-28 months with the mother learning to survive. Their white fur is camouflage as the skin is black with the hairs being hollow. They can stay absolutely still by a seal's breathing hole for hours waiting for its chance for a meal. it is essential they keep their fur free of dirt and unmatted to aid the insulation.

First Spotting of a Polar Bear

In 1774, John Phipps named Ursus Maritimus when he wrote A Voyage to the North Pole. He found great numbers on the land, Spitsbergen, Norway, and was the first to describe a Polar Bear. Phipps was an explorer and was born in 1744 and died in 1792.

Some 60% of polar bears are found in Canada, and the estimate of the polar bears in the wild is 22,000-31,000. The biggest threats to polar bears are habitat loss, oil and gas exploration, human conflict, pollution, and climate change.

John Phipps, Explorer

John Phipps, Explorer

Hunters of the Polar Bear

In 1972, the U.S. outlawed polar bear hunting, except for Alaskan natives. However, it remains legal in Canada, so hunters flock to Canada with big bucks. In 2008, dozens of polar bears were being held in climate-controlled conditions waiting for the U.S. government to allow them into the country. There are complications and disagreements between Canada and the U.S.

Some forty-one American big-game hunters and their prizes are trapped in bureaucratic problems. it happened in May 2008 when the U.S. declared polar bears "threatened."At the time, these hunters didn't get their trophies out in time. They had paid as much as $50,000. to hunt and are still paying hundreds of dollars more per year to keep their trophies in cold storage waiting for congress to act.

Between the years 2006-2015, there were 3,262 polar bear skins that left Canada.

A polar bear rug can cost between $5,000-$35,000.

Canadian Polar Bear Rug

Canadian Polar Bear Rug

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on October 04, 2020:

Thank you, Ankita for your visit. I appreciate it.

Ankita B on October 04, 2020:

Excellent article about polar bears. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on October 04, 2020:

Thanks for reading. Yes, they are fascinating.

Rosina S Khan on October 03, 2020:

This is an interesting account of polar bears. They are such fascinating creatures. It's sad that hunters are out for them to get their skin. All in all, I enjoyed the article. Great article, Fran.