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Are You Polar Bear Aware?
Are YOU Polar Bear Aware?
Discover your polar bear awareness quotient here!
Polar bears, considered the largest bears in the world are being affected by habitat loss, destruction and degradation of ecosystems, pollution, over-exploitation and climate change. These factors are among the powerful and persistent impacts on polar bear populations and health. The purpose of this site is to raise money to help save Polar Bears from extinction while helping more people become Polar Bear Aware.
You'll find where polar bears live; how to reproduce; what they eat; how big their paws are; and other interesting facts. You'll see great photos; links to endangered species organizations; lists of great books; links to sites about cute KNUT, Hudson, Flocke and Wilhelma. In one section, my good friend David Booth of Cabin Fever Art, shares one of his wonderful Polar Bear Cartoons (changes often).
Now, off you go. Relax and enjoy the journey but do take it all in. There will be a test -- I kid you not -- about halfway through you'll find my "Polar Bear Aware-ness Test". Take it if you dare and find out just how Polar Bear Aware you are!
The royalties from this site are donated 50% to Polar Bears International and 50% to FIV Cat Rescue.
Photo: Copyright 2007-2013 Frankie Kangas
Polar Bear Scientific Classification
Classification of Polar Bears
Species: U. maritimus
Polar Bears Listed As 'Threatened' Species
The U.S. government lists Polar Bears as Threatened under Endangered Species Act. (May 14, 2008)
For U.S. Dept. of Interior's complete press release, click Decision to Protect Polar Bears under Endangered Species Act.
Attention: First Time Readers
The Go-To Place for Polar Bears
I created this site to be the GO-TO place on all things polar bear. Here you'll find loads of interesting photos and facts which might be just what you're looking for. For those of you who want more, you'll find many relevant links to more in-depth info.
As sections become overly large, I split them off into their own sites and have links to get to them. For example, Goodbye Knut - A Tribute, Polar Bear Ware for bear t-shirts, hats and other bear wares, Bear Fetishes.
It is a long lens so you are not expected to take it all in in one bite. I've organized it logically (I think) so read for a while, bookmark the page, and come back often. I add to it often. (I research, write about, read about or sculpt polar bears every single day so I have a mammoth amount of information on them.)
To share your thoughts and/or questions about this lens, use the comment section below.
Polar Bears of the Arctic
The Beuford Sea Bears
The Polar Bears of Arctic Alaska DVD is now available for only $15 (even though the cover says $25). The DVD is really the only one that shows Alaska polar bears, which you may have noticed are largely absent from the public view relative to high arctic and/or Churchill populations. The DVD showcases the polar bears on the Beaufort Sea coast as the filmmakers try to raise the profile of this population of polar bears. These bears are threatened as much by industrial development and helicopter harassment as it is by climate change.
If you love polar bears, get this DVD and help spread the word about the polar bears on the Beauford Sea Coast.
To order your own copy, click Polar Bears of Arctic Alaska
Photos: Â©Arthur C. Smith III / PolarArt Productions.
Description Of The Polar Bear - Ursus Maritimus
The Largest Member Of The Bear Family
Polar bears are such great creatures. And to think that it's only in recent evolutionary time that bears adapted to arctic sea life. It started during the Ice Age, in the northern seas, when the seals needed to breathe and reproduce at the surface. By doing this, the seals put a rich year-round food source within reach of a population of brown bears, who then started to live on the ice, evolving into something like the polar bear of today around 100,000 years ago.
Weighing about 330 to 1,760 pounds, the length of the polar bear's body is approximately 6.6 to 10 feet (some sources say 8 to 11 feet) tall. The male body is usually larger than the female. The polar bear, similar to the brown bear, is large and stocky. It has an elongated neck and small head. Its fur, usually white, sometimes appears yellow, due to oxidation.
A polar bear has black skin, which helps it absorb and hold heat from the sunlight. It is definitely well dressed for the weather with a layer of fat more than 4 inches thick to provide good insulation. The heavy fur on its feet (its foot is about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long) provides warmth and traction. Since each foot is so large, it acts as a handy snowshoe. They walk with a bow-legged gait.
It is a good swimmer with its broad forepaws that serve as paddles. When swimming underwater, the small ears flatten for protection and its nostril close. It paddles at about 6 and one-half miles per hour - front feet only, hind feet trailing - and can remain submerged for about 2 minutes. The hairs of its waterproof coat are hollow which is a good insulator and increases the bear's buoyancy when swimming.
A polar bear has a good sense of smell, sensing prey at a distance of about 20 miles. Although little is known about its sense of touch (its eyesight and hearing is acute), a polar bear is able to manipulate various objects with great dexterity.
With canine teeth larger and sharper than those of other bears, the polar bear is the most carnivorous North American bear.
How Polar Bears Evolved
Not Your Great-Great-Great-Grandfather's Brown Bear
The earliest polar bear fossil is less than 100,000 years old. And it is likely that they separated from the brown (grizzly) bear somewhere near the arctic coast of Siberia.
As the polar bear evolved, it's appearance diverged from the brown bear's, growing hair all over it's body except nose and pads of feet. The bear's coat became white to yellow and sometimes light brown depending on the time of year.
The head became elongated with a Roman nose. The cheek teeth became smaller and more jagged and the canines larger and sharper for tearing apart it's favorite food, seal. And their claws are also shorter and more solid than the brown bear.
The polar bear's tail and ears are smaller than the brown bear's but they have huge feet. Their feet are used to swim (used oar-like) and like snowshoes on the snow and ice. They also have small, soft papillae on the bottoms of their feet which gives them traction on the ice when they run.
What is a Polar Bears Range? - How much do polar bears travel?
Polar bears travel throughout the year within single home ranges, which tend to be a larger area than for other mammal species because of the alterations in sea ice from year to year and even season to season. Small home ranges (19,000 to 23,000 miles) can be discovered near Canadian Arctic Islands, while larger home ranges can be found in the Bering or Chukchi Sea areas.
The polar bear remains in the same area during the same time of year. A polar bear is capable of traveling 19 miles or more per day for several days, although some are capable of a good deal more than that. One can only hope that polar bear adaptation will carry on, as their habitat area shrinks and the pressures of civilization continue to encroach on the the natural homes where the polar bear dwell.
How Polar Bears Reproduce
Polar Bear Birthing Facts
Polar bears mate in April or May.
Although the egg is fertilized, it remains in a state of suspension in the female until late in August or early September. The egg then implants in the wall of the uterus and begins to grow.
Early in November or December, the female, prepares for the impending birth by digging a maternity den. She stays in the den and the babies are born between late November and early January.
One of the most extensive denning areas for polar bears is the lowlands of Hudson Bay and James Bay--the only known location where polar bears den in earth rather than in snow--where by digging down to the permafrost they choose to dig out caves in lake and stream banks and peat hummocks. It is believed that they might also use these permafrost dens to find shade in the summer time.
Polar Bear Embryos
By Award Winning Photographers
Cibachrome print of polar bear embryos by award winning international photographers, Daniel & Geo Fuchs. To see it and more of their fabulous work, click The Bulger Gallery.
By the way, how many embryos do you count?
Polar Bear Habits
Polar bears are Fierce, Playful, Maternal
Polar bears, like people, prefer certain foods. They have an acute sense of smell and is able to locate prey, even when hidden by snowdrifts or ice. Polar bears mainly stalks young seals and can eat nearly 50 a year). They also like walruses and capture them by swimming underwater to their ice floes. They also likes algae (when available), berries, birds and bird eggs, crabs, dead animals (including whales), grasses, mushrooms, small mammals, starfish, and sometimes...adult seals.
The polar bear, when it returns to it's den is lethargic. Males usually den from late November to late January, while females den for a longer period of time, from November to March. During that time, the sows give birth. The cubs remain with their mother about 1-1/2 to 2 years.
One of the largest denning areas for polar bears is the lowlands of Hudson Bay and James Bay. It is also the only known region where polar bears den in earth rather than in snow. They actually dig down to the permafrost to excavate caves.
Most polar bears meet their potential mates in prime seal-hunting spots. Female polar bears don't breed every year since they have cubs for up to 2 years. So, getting a date can be a real challenge! Therefore, competition for the attention of a female can be truly fierce. The males must fight one another for the privilege of mating, sometimes viciously.
Although mating takes place in late March to mid-July, females delay implantation of its fertilized eggs until early fall when it digs out and enters its den, giving birth a month or two later. To carry off a successful pregnancy and denning, the pregnant female must greatly increase her weight, mostly in fat. The denned mother often goes without food or water for as long as nine months.
The cubs are born in December or January, usually a pair of fur balls. They weigh in at about 1 to 1.5 pounds. When they leave their den in March or Apr, the cubs will weigh 25 to 30 pounds.
Polar Bears whiskers
Do polar bears have whiskers?
Turns out that polar bears have distinctive whisker spot patterns. The University of Central Florida keeps a visual database of polar bears encountered with photos and encountering information.
They have a picture of the polar bears side-view (right or left side) that shows the whisker spot patterns and scars. Each bear's is unique.
For more information, see Reuters's article Of Fingerprints and polar bear whiskers.
Polar Bear Tracks -- paw print
How big are polar bears paws?Polar bear paws are large -- about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long. Here's a photo of a print left by a polar bear. You can see just the front part of the paw.
Polar Bear Tail
How big is a polar bear's tail?
The tail of a polar bear is very small compared to the rest of his body.
The tail is flat and between 3 to 5 inches long. It's not always easy to see because the long hair on the body often covers it.
Here's a great shot of one.
What Is Your Polar Bear Aware Quotient? - How Did You Score On The Polar Bear Aware-ness Test?
See how you compare with others that took the test. Remember, if you don't like your score, take the test again after you finish reading through the lens. I won't tell.
What was your Polar Bear Aware-ness Quotient?
WEEKLY Polar Bear Cartoons by David Booth
Cartoon changes every Monday
Come back every Monday to see a NEW Polar Bear Cartoon. To see all of David's cartoons, be sure to go to his wonderful website Cabin Fever Art. Tell him you saw him at Polar Bear Aware! You can get this design or any of his other dozens of cartoons and artwork on anything from t-shirts to note cards at Cartoon Bear Ware
Polar Bear Cartoon Book
Hot off the Presses
Those of you who have been visiting this lens know that David M. Booth is an amazing cartoonist and is a good friend of mine. He is an animal lover and has made it his mission in life to save polar bears. His first book of polar bear cartoons has just hit the stands (so to speak).
As an Alaskan artist and cartoonist, David has a unique take on polar bears. His cartoons run the gambit from funny to quirky, and thought-provoking to silly and everything in-between. You can find his cartoons on Polar Bears International website as he is their official cartoonist. David's philosophy is that cartoons that add a bit of humor accomplish more than "doom & gloom" discussions.
The book also contains beautiful polar bear photos, polar bear facts and even a polar bear crossword puzzle. You can get you own copy by clicking on the book photo above, or click Skating on Thin Ice.
Polar Bears Cartoon Ware by David M. Booth
Polar bear cartoon t-shirts and other ware
Just click on the logo you like below to see all of the products available in that design from t-shirts and jackets to card and posters. To see dozens more of his designs, click B-Cool Stuff
Polar Bears And Their Habitat
Where You'll Find Polar Bears
Polar bears live only in the Northern Hemisphere. They inhabit the Arctic ice cap, islands, sea ice, and water and continental coastlines. Polar bears prefer the sea ice habitat. They like to be near the continental coastlines or islands.
Polar bears are found in Canada, from the northern arctic islands south to the Hudson Bay. They are also found in Greenland, the islands off the coast of Norway, on the northern and northwestern coasts of Alaska and on the northern coast of the former Soviet Union.
Some polar bears spend part of the year on land, although in warmer climates a bear might become stranded. Most pregnant females spend the autumn and winter on land in their maternity dens.
The home range of a polar bear tend to be larger than for other mammal species because of the changes in sea ice from year to year and even season to season. Small home ranges are between 19,000 to 23,000 miles, and can be found near Canadian Arctic Islands. Large home ranges are about 135,000 miles and can be found in the Bering or Chukchi Seas. A polar bear is capable of traveling 19 miles or more per day for several days, although some are capable of much more than that.
What Polar Bears Eat
Are polar bears omnivores?
Polar bears, like people, prefer certain foods. They have an acute sense of smell and is able to locate prey, even when hidden by snowdrifts or ice. Polar bears mainly stalks young seals and can eat nearly 50 a year). They also like walruses and capture them by swimming underwater to their ice floes. They also likes algae (when available), berries, birds and bird eggs, crabs, beluga whale and bowhead whales carcasses, grasses, mushrooms, small mammals, starfish, and sometimes...adult seals.
Polar bears also love watermelon.
Inuit Beliefs About The Polar Bear
What do Inuits believe about polar bears?
The prehistoric Inuit people held strong beliefs about animals and about the polar bear specifically. They knew how to kill animals including polar bears but they believed they had to defer to their spirits when they did.
The beliefs and practices varied some depending on where the people lived. However, they had (maybe some still do) the following common themes: They believed that...
* All creatures have souls.
* That a polar bear would give itself to a hunter only if it were treated properly after death.
* The spirit of an animal might be chosen to be the tornaq (spiritual guardian) of an individual.
* The most powerful tornaq (after the Sedna, the Goddess of the sea, who was held to be the most powerful being of all) was that of a polar bear.
* It was wrong to kill a polar bear too soon after another one was killed so there was a taboo set on hunting. For instance, the Netsilik, Copper, and Inland Inuit abstained for 5 days after killing a female and 4 days for a male.
* If a polar bear was wounded by a hunter, it's soul would be deeply offended and cause sickness and harm to the hunter therefore, it had to be tracked down and killed.
The Inuit people still have much regard and reverence for the polar bear.
The Inuit legend of Qupqugiaq aka Kokogiak
Qupqugiaq is a 10-legged polar bear in this Inuit legend. In the story, he renounces violence and tries to create a love-based community.To read the complete story, click Kokogiak
Polar Bear Playing With Husky
Polar bear playing with dog friends
This one of my favorite photos. To see this fantastic picture and more of the meeting between a male polar bear and a husky, check out Mutts, a blog by John Woestendiek of The Baltimore Sun. His story is called Wonder on the Tundra. To go to the article and video click Play Article
Scientists predict two-thirds of polar bear global population could disappear within the next fifty years! Rising temperatures are literally melting the ice beneath their paws, drastically reducing their habitat and food supply. The situation is dire.
By adopting a polar bear from National Wildlife Federation today (less than 10 cents a day), you will be helping to save these magnificent creatures. Best of all, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're helping to protect polar bears and other imperiled wildlife.
For more information, click New Adoption Center
I have my polar bear plush, do you have yours?
Share your best story, photo, joke, links to websites or Squidoo lenses, or anything else shedding light on polar bears. (Limited html.)
I'd love to hear from folks who have visited polar bears in their natural habitat. Thanks and bear hugs, Frankie
FREE Polar Bear Stuff
FREE Polar Bear Stuff
FREE Polar Bear Vector Drawing Tutorial
Use Photo Shop To Create This Great Polar Bear Face
Learn how to draw a vector style polar bear face using photoshop in this free online tutorial. The photo can be used in any graphic design project like in logos. Click Your PhotoShop Guide to get to the tutorial. Here's what the final output of this tutorial would look like:
Great Books & Beautiful Polar Bear Calendars - Get polar bear books and calendars here
These books & Calendars are "must haves" for any serious Polar Bear lover. Please vote on your favorites items or add any you feel should be here. Thanks!
Polar Bear News
Polar Bear News
Photo: Wikimedia: Grizzly bears moving into Manitoba -- polar bear territory.
- Arctic scientist who exposed climate threat to polar bear is suspended | World news | The Guardian
US government conducts 'integrity inquiry' on federal biologist amid lobbying by oil firms for Arctic permits
- Polar Bear Ultrasound
Pieces of the Puzzle Yes, we have begun the ultrasound exams with Chinook! Yes, she is cooperative, and we are very hopeful that this will be the year that once...
- Polar Bear Gets Listed! - Press Release - Digital Journal
Digital Journal is a digital media news network with thousands of Digital Journalists in 200 countries around the world. Join us!
- Watch the largest polar bear gathering in the world live via HD webcam
Every autumn, around 1,000 of the world's estimated 20,000 polar bears make their way to Churchill, Manitoba, a small town situated on the shore of northeastern Canada's Hudson Bay. There, the polar bears wait for the bay to freeze over so that they
- Arctic Oil Drilling Threatens Polar Bear Birthing Grounds | Rocky Kistner's Blog | Switchboard, from
Up in the frozen arctic, where polar bear rule over a biogem world,�massive oil drilling�plans�threaten�the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.�Shell, the oil behemoth that made $4.8 billion in profits last quarter, intends to boost�those numbers by dri
Endangered Species Organizations Protecting Polar Bears
Friends of Polar Bears And All Other Animals
Interested in learning more about Polar Bears? Read about the organizations and what they are doing to help the polar bear and other endangered species.
National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Tel: 800-822-9919
11100 Wildlife Center Dr, Reston, VA 20190-5362
To inspire Americans to:
* protect wildlife for our children's future
* connect people with nature
* confront global warming
Polar Bears International (PBI) Tel: 225-923-3114
105 Morris Street, Suite 188, Sebastopol, CA 95472
1. Conserve the world's polar bear through research & education.
2. Serve as a central educational resource on polar bears worldwide.
3. Promote teamwork and encourage constructive dialogue.
4. Build an organization that is international in scope.
5. Operate in a fiscally responsible fashion.
* take care for all species of Bears.
* to educate visitors about all aspects and attributes of Bears
Defenders of Wildlife Tel: 1-800-385-9712
1130 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.
Man is the only creature that ...
kills for 'sport' then decorates his home with the remains. - Frankie Kangas
Are You Polar Bear Aware? TROPHY CASE
No Heads, Hides Or Body Parts, Just Pixels And Bragging Rights
I'm proud to show off the awards this lens has won. Thanks to each of you for visiting, ranking my lens, signing the guestbook, marking it a favorite, lensrolling this lens and for coming back to see David Booth's latest cartoon and the other new items. Bear hugs, Frankie
RANKED #1 overall and in Animals & Nature
I am truly grateful to each of you who have visited and rated the lens. Thank you for supporting me in my quest to raise awareness and money to save the Polar Bears. You rock!
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