The Rulers of the Arctic

The Biggest Bears

Paws 'n Claws

Polar bears, the rulers of the Arctic and the great hunter. One thing that helps Polar Bears be the greatest hunter in the north are their claws. They have hooked claws that help them grab food, dig, and break ice. Next, their paws are built in snowshoes for deep snow and built in paddles for swimming. Finally, they have pads on their paws just like dogs. Those pads give Polar bears ice traction, and the fur on their paws give them extra traction.


Diet


So, do you know what the main course is for a Polar bear? Seals! Polar bears love to eat seals because they have lots of calories and fat. But, only 2% of the time Polar bears actually catch seals, but when they do they are full and happy. Sometimes Polar bears have to wait hours to get a decent meal. If they are desperate they will eat bird eggs, walrus blubber, baby Polar bears, and rarely humans. Their top 4 favorite meals are Ringed seals, Bearded seals, Walrus, and Beluga whales.


Hunting


Polar bears are slowly losing land to hunt on, hunting seals requires ice and due to global warming the ice is slowly melting away. Polar bears are at the top of the food chain in the Arctic, but it's not always easy to find food in the Arctic. In order to survive Polar bears need to eat 43 seals a year to survive. Polar bears have to wait by a seal's breathing hole in the ice but now they can't do that.



Fun Facts


One fun fact is male Polar bears can weigh 800-1,600 lbs while a female can weigh 330-880 lbs and they can both grow as long as 8 feet. Another fun fact is Polar bears can dive down 15 feet and can stay under for 2 minutes. Polar bears noses are so strong they can smell seals 3 feet under the ice. Their fur helps Polar bears stand up to -60 degrees. Finally, one last extremely cool fact is that Polar bears are related to Dogs, Raccoons, Weasels, and Cats. Remember not all of the Polar bear's relatives are close relatives.

Polar Bears Hunt Seal in the Arctic Cold

Being a Baby Bear

Just Born

Do you think that Polar bears are big at birth? Well you are wrong. Polar bears are actually 12-14 inches at birth and weigh 1lb. Baby Polar bears are called cubs. When cubs are born they can't hear or walk and have a thin coat of white fur. First by 1 month old the cubs can hear but still can't walk. Cubs are born in a den with their mom. The mom makes a long tunnel to the middle of the den and blocks the entrance way so it is 40 degrees warmer in the den than outside.


Growing Bigger


Then at 2 months old the cubs weigh as much as a newborn human. It can hear and walk now but it is still not strong enough to leave the den. When the mother is awake the cubs feed when she is asleep they jump on her. Next at 3 months the cubs are able to leave the den but when they do they never leave their mother's side.When the cubs are scared they will climb onto their mother's back. The mother will use up all her energy to protect her cubs. By 4 months old the cubs have grown 4x the size when they were born.



Growing Up

Finally by 3 years you would think the cubs have left their mother right? Wrong. Cubs stay with their moms until they are almost full grown. For the first 3 years of a cubs life their mom cares for them just like we care for our babies. By spring the cubs have grown to 22-33lbs. Baby Polar bears have very caring and protective mothers.

Pregnancy

You may think that all female Polar bears give birth in the same year but that is not the case.


Female Polar bears will both rapidly hunt like males after the winter has past and both will eat a lot before spring. (Either it be pregnant or non-pregnant females) Pregnant females can be very different to non-pregnant females. Pregnant females will den in the fall, they might dig several dens until they make on that is suitable. First they will dig a den, then give birth, and emerge in 3 months. On the other hand females that are not pregnant will hunt with the males, but pregnant females won't. Pregnant females will live off their fat preserves. During the time that pregnant females are giving birth the other females that are non-pregnant will hunt and behave just like a male Polar bear.

Hunting Bears Ban

There was a big threat to polar bears even bigger than global warming. From the 1800's to 1973 polar bear were being hunted by humans. Humans used to hunt polar bear for food, clothing, fur, and for trophy's such as polar bear skulls. (and other things) Those bears were also being hunted because they were an people's properties and they got annoyed.


Between the 1950's to the 1960's about 700-800 polar bears were killed yearly. Ever since the 1800's about 150,000 polar bears have been killed by humans. Around the 1950's Polar bears were hunted by planes. I don't know why people people were hunting Polar bears they are amazing and interesting creatures we still have much to learn about the Polar bear. Like how we can save them from extinction.


There is a solution to all of this. Back in the 1900's there was a ban for hunting polar bears. In fact Norway was the first goverment to ban the hunting of Polar bears. Then in 1956 Russia banned the hunting of Polar bears. Finally in 1973 hunting polar bears was banned everywhere hopefully for forever. Also in 2008 the USA put Polar bears under the ESA. (Endangered Species Act)

The Future

We use oil and gas every day, you don't think that is matters, right? Wrong! Every time you burn oil or gas it creates something called greenhouse gases. These gases produce global warming. Global warming is increasing and slowly melting the north pole and decreasing the polar bear's natural habitat. But this isn't the only threat to polar bears people are also exploring the Arctic. They are discovering valuable resources such as oil and gases. So, people are building oil drills and concerned scientists, politicians, and business people are trying to prevent this.


Not only are people building oil drills they are also building pipe lines, roads, and air strips and they use air crafts, boats, and snow mobiles. The polar bear's habitat is only in 5 countries, Soviet Union, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and the USA the leaders of these countries have agreed to protect the polar bear species.


The outcome of these builds are that the polar bears are slowly becoming extinct. There are only around 20,000 polar bears left in the wild, this is not good. Scientists predict that the polar bears might become extinct in 2200.