Did You Know?
Polar Bear Facts
With only an estimated 20,000-25,000 polar bears left in the world, most of us will never actually get to see one in the wild. But if you do, you are most likely to see one in Canada where 60% of the world’s population lives. Polar bears also live in ice covered Artic seas in Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
And while an adult male can weigh 1400 pounds and measure 10 feet tall when standing, a baby bear weighs less than a pound when born and is blind. For the first few years of the bear’s life, the baby learns to hunt from its mother, with seals being the primary food source. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for cubs can exceed 70% as a result of starvation, falling prey to wolves or other carnivores, or even drowning while swimming long distances in search of food.
The only predators of adult polar bears are humans. However in a rare case of international cooperation, all 5 countries with polar bear populations came together in 1973 and signed an agreement which either banned hunting or established strict rules for killing or capturing polar bears. Populations have rebounded but now face different obstacles.
Neither of us has had a close encounter with a polar bear but that is about to change. In 2017 we will be travelling to Churchill, Canada to spend a week observing polar bears in their natural habitat. We can’t wait to learn more about the bears, their habitat and other interesting polar bear facts To get to see these beautiful bears up close and personal will be a once in a life time experience.
What Can We Do to Help Polar Bears
Polar bears are listed as vulnerable (VU) by the World Conservation Union. The main threats to polar bears today are industrial pollution and climate change resulting in an accelerating loss of habitat, specifically a reduction in the ice flows the bears need to survive. Research shows the Artic is warming twice as fast as the rest of our planet and some scientists predict two-thirds of the polar bear population will be lost by 2050. In order to help, we support finding/funding more renewable energy sources (solar and wind as 2 examples), limiting/banning the burning of fossil fuels and using Dale’s sculptures to raise awareness and funds for the protection of their habitat.
Polar Bear International: www.polarbearsinternational.org
World Wildlife Fund: www.worldwildlife.org
N.C. Zoo: www.nczoo.org