The polar bear is the world’s largest carnivore. The adult weighs between 300kg – 600kg and the female weighs approximately half the size.
The Latin name for the polar bear is Ursus maritimus (this means “sea bear”.)
Polar bear fur appears to be white to tan in colour but it is actually translucent.
The polar bear is an excellent swimmer; it can swim at speeds of up to 6mph and has been found at ranges as far as 60 miles out to sea.
Polar bears are found naturally in the Arctic on frozen seas and near coastal areas. They share the region with indigenous peoples and animals such as beluga whales, seals, narwhal and Arctic foxes.
It is estimated that there are 22,000 polar bears worldwide and it is thought that 60% exist in Canada.
The natural diet for polar bears are seals, young walrus and beluga whales, fish, seabirds and narwhal.
Polar bears are predominantly solitary creatures.
Polar bears have an acute sense of smell. They are able to detect a seal that is 1 mile away and covered in snow.
Polar bears will usually give birth to two cubs, each will weigh approximately 600g and will be roughly the size of a guinea pig. The mother will look after the cubs until they are two and a half years old at which time they will be forced to fend for themselves.
The polar bears’ habitat is under threat from global warming, toxic chemical pollution and oil exploration.
Of the 19 recognized polar bear subpopulations in the world, 5 of them are declining, 5 could be considered as stable, 2 are increasing, and 7 currently have insufficient data to make a determination.
If the currently climactic trends continue, it is thought that the wild polar bear species will become extinct in 100 years time.