Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus) is a hypercarnivourous bear whose native place primarily lies in Arctic comprising mainly Canada, Norway, Greenland, Russia & USA. One of the most iconic and well loved species in the world, these are under serious threat and WWF has been making attempts since 1972 to save this species from human hunting. Human hunting other than Ice Melting has been one of the major and biggest sources of killing Polar Bears.
I will present some of the interesting facts that you may not know about Polar Bears.
- Male bears can weigh up to 10 times of human weight-Males can weigh up to 800 Kgs and are twice the size of female polar bear making them the largest land carnivore in the world.
- Strong smelling sense tracing prey up to a kilometer away- Polar bears can smell seals breathing beneath breathing holes in the ice. They wait patiently till the time seal comes out of the breathing holes to attack.
- Polar bears are not white but are actually jet black- Since the fur is translucent they reflect visible light making them look like white but beneath all the fur lies jet black skin.
- Hybrid of Polar Bear & Grizzly Bear exists- Interbreeding of polar bear and grizzly bear is surprising but was first noticed in 2006 in Canadian Arctic by scientists.
- Polar bear can swim for long hours and even days- Their special paws ability makes them swim for long distances and steadily for many hours to get from one piece of ice to another.
- Climate change is more threatening than human hunting- The oil and gas industry first looks into exploration of sea and water bodies making polar bears vulnerable to chemicals and poison. Even their prey gets infected with these toxins thus making one of the biggest challenges to the survival of polar bears.
- Only footprints of polar bear can confirm DNA – WWF and DNA specialist firm SPYGEN developed a mind blowing technique that can confirm DNA of the polar bear from only two scoops of snow on which polar bear walked.
- More than 98% hunts by polar bear are not successful- Half of a polar bear life is spent in hunting but their success rate is only less than 2%. They feed mainly on Seals but due to staggering high failure rate they also have to feed on scavenge carcasses or depend on small mammals, eggs, vegetation and birds.
- Polar Bears to decline by 30% by Year 2050- Polar bears rely heavily on sea ice to cover large areas in search of food. As the ice is melting due to human activities the hunting range for polar bears gets restricted and consequently limiting their feeding range. This is particularly impacting pregnant females who have to store fat in large quantities to nurse cubs.