The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Polar bears have been getting a lot of news coverage in recent years due to the effects that Climate Change has on them. Despite this, many people still do not much about them as a species. So let's look into them today, and also see how they might be faring.
Physical Characteristics and Behavior
Unlike typical bears, the polar bear is what you would consider a Hypercarnivorous animal. This means that more than 70% of their diet comes from meat. This is in contrast with the brown bear whose diet can be 75% vegetation. This is because Polar Bears live in the arctic where there is not much vegetation available.
While their staple food is seal, polar bears are also very flexible. They will eat whatever is available to them, including vegetation, eggs, and muskox, among others.
They look white, but a fun fact is that their hair is actually transparent, as well as hollow. This refracts the light, making them appear white. It also yellows with age due to a diet high in seal oils. However, when in captivity and subjected to warm and humid conditions, algae in the hairs make them look green.
Habitat and Location
They are located in the arctic, mostly in northern Canada. However, they usually migrate in the summer when the ice melts and the seals move further north.
According to the IUCN RedList, they are considered to be a vulnerable species. While their populations are increasing in some areas, in most places, they are decreasing. Much of this has to do with climate change, and how the ice caps are melting, making it harder for them to hunt.
Since climate change is happening so rapidly, it can be next to impossible for polar bears to adapt quickly enough. So as of right now, it looks kind of bleak for future polar bear populations.
To learn more about this amazing animal, check out the documentary on them below: