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Polar Bears

BY EARTHFIRST

Polar bears are in my opinion one of the most beautiful creatures to walk the earth. Sadly only about 25,000 polar bears survive worldwide, these mighty white bears are in serious danger of going extinct due to global warming.

As most of us already know rising temperatures are causing sea ice to melt, especially in the summer months when the polar bears are the most active. As available sea ice decreases, polar bears have to swim farther to find suitable habitat and food. Many polar bears now suffer from malnutrition and others face starvation, especially females with cubs.

Polar bears need our help and protection to ensure a long, healthy future for the species. The best way you can help polar bears is by reducing your carbon footprint http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Personal-Solutions.aspx and working with National Wildlife Federation to campaign to reduce carbon pollution.

Some Polar Bear facts:

  • Polar bears are one of the largest land mammals on Earth. An average male can weigh over a ton – approximately 800-1,500 pounds.
  • Polar bears can live to 20-30 years of age.
  • Fur covers the entire body, even the feet, to help keep the bear warm in the bitterly cold climate of the Arctic.
  • The fur has two layers--one for trapping in heat close to the body and another for trapping heat and repelling water.
  • The outer layer of fur is hollow and reflects light giving the fur a white color. The white fur helps the bear camouflage in the icy and snowy habitat.
  • In contrast to the white fur, the skin is black. The black skin more readily absorbs sunlight, which helps to keep the bear warm. A polar bear's tongue is also black.
  • Polar bears have a layer of blubber below the surface of the skin. The blubber acts as insulation on the body to trap heat. This is especially important while swimming. 
  • The polar bear has been protected for many years. Russia outlawed hunting in 1956, and Greenland began regulating it in 1994. The United States began protecting the species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 and under the Endangered Species Act in 2008, when the bear was listed as threatened. Tightly regulated hunting is allowed in Canada, where about 500 bears are killed yearly.


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