Can you see something big, white and fluffy?
The Polar bear is the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore. It inhabits the northern regions of the Arctic Circle. There are five nations with polar bears: United States of America (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway (Svalbard).
Polar bears do not live in Antarctica but penguins do
The icy waters and ice floes are where their favourite food – seals, can be found. Seals can be quite tough to catch, so polar bears must hunt with great stealth and patience. Fortunately, their white colouring helps them hunt by blending in with their surroundings.
Polar bears feed mainly on ringed seals
Most people think that polar bears have white fur and skin. But believe it or not, their hair isn’t actually white! It may look white, but a polar bear’s fur is made up of translucent, hollow hairs. Each hair works like a fibre-optic tube, channelling the sun’s energy to the bear’s black skin, helping it to stay warm. Those translucent hairs reflect light, just like ice and snow do, making the polar bears appear white.
Interestingly, not all polar bears look white. If you have ever seen a polar bear in a zoo, you may have noticed some patches of green fur. Scientists discovered that this is due to the algae in the enclosure’s pond water. These algae were found not on the surface of the hairs but inside the hollow hairs!
Did the polar bear just dye its hair?
Are polar bears endangered? Polar bears are listed under a variety of classifications depending on international, national, and regional regulations. Internationally, they are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The primary conservation concern for polar bears is habitat loss and reduced access to their seal prey due to climate change. Scientists predict that as the Arctic continue to warm, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within this century. However, recent research showed that there is still hope if action is taken to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.