The Polar Bear, A Priority Species

The polar bear is a large-sized bear characterized by its white color and inhabits the Arctic Circle regions that include the Arctic Ocean in addition to the oceans and the surrounding ice masses. The weight of adult males of polar bears ranges between 350 to 700 kilograms, while the weight of adult females is estimated at about half this weight. Polar bears are the largest carnivores that exist at the present time, and although polar bears are among the sister species of brown bears, they have evolved from them to live in narrower environmental conditions with their acquisition of many physical characteristics that make them adapt to lower temperatures, in addition to To make it easily travel through icy, water and snow terrain.

Polar bear habitats

Polar bears are classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives in the sea, and polar bears are the only marine mammals that have strong limbs and feet and are adapted to walk for miles on land, and polar bears prefer sea ice that sits over huge areas of water over the continental shelf, and owns the surrounding areas The Arctic Circle has a large proportion of biological diversity, unlike the deep waters of the Arctic, and polar medicine prefers to be present in areas where sea ice meets sea water, which gives a suitable environment for the presence of seals that form an important part of the polar bears’ diet. Polar bears are found mainly along the glaciers instead of the polar basin, which contains a few groups of seals, and groups of polar bears have been spotted in southern Labrador and Norway in addition to James Bay and St. Lawrence Bay, and polar bears are also found near the border between the semi-regions. Polar and humid continental climate regions, can also be found in Greenland, Russia, and the United States.

Polar bear food and reproduction

Seals are the main food source for polar bears, and their diet depends almost entirely on meat, and if the food supply from seals is available, then polar bears prefer to feed on seals only, as this high-calorie meal provides the polar bears’ fat needs that preserve their health and help them in Maintaining its body temperature, so that the polar bear needs about 2 kg of fat per day which provides about 121 pounds of seals meat and provides the polar bear about eight days of energy, and if polar bears do not find enough seals, they can feed on anything that can You can find it like fish, reindeer, rodents, birds, berries and human litter.

A female polar bear usually gives birth during the months of November or December after an eight-month pregnancy period, and the female polar bear prepares for the birth process by digging a snow cave in which to give birth to her young and this cave is called the motherhood cave. Cases have been recorded in which the female gives birth to a single baby or triple twins, and the weight of the newborn at birth is about half a kilogram, but it grows and grows very quickly, and the cubs depend completely on their mothers for their nutrition to obtain warm and creamy milk that contains 36 percent fat, and by the spring Cubs come out of the maternity cave to explore their surroundings while they are fully mature at two years old, and a polar bear ranges from 15 to 20 years.

The polar bear has adapted to its environment

The polar bear has many characteristics and features that allow it to survive, grow and swim in a very cold environment, as polar bears have paws and claws that help them to walk on the ice, and the polar bear has sticky protrusions known as papillae in its paws that provide it with a strong grip on icy lands, Polar bears also have large feet measuring about 11 inches that help them to walk on thin ice sheets without sinking by distributing their body weight over a larger area, and the polar bear’s fur consists of a dense insulation layer topped by a layer of hair, and the fur works to isolate the body And reduce its loss of temperature, and it is interesting that the fur of the polar bear is not white, but is transparent and does not contain any dyes and works to reflect and disperse visible light just as snow and ice do, and this type of adaptation helps to protect the polar bear from high temperatures, especially in the season Summer, the skin of polar bears is black and underneath there is a thick layer of fat that can be up to 4.49 inches thick and act as a heat insulator.

Dangers facing a polar bear

The International Union for Conservation of Nature in the Arctic and many prominent biologists have expressed grave concern about the impact of climate change and the phenomenon of global warming endangering the survival of polar bears, and the main risk from climate change is that polar bears will be exposed to malnutrition or hunger resulting from habitat loss. As polar bears depend for their food mainly on hunting seals that are found in areas of sea ice, and the rise in temperatures resulting from climate changes causes the sea ice to melt early in the year, which pushes the polar bears to head towards the shore before building their adequate reserves of Fat to survive during periods of scarcity of food, and the melting of the sea ice cover forces the bears to swim for longer distances, which increases the possibility of depleting their energy reserves and sometimes leads to drowning, and with high temperatures, sea ice tends to be thin, which makes it difficult Polar bears have to reach seals, and insufficient feeding causes low fertility rates in adult females and low survival rates in the neighborhood.