Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Polar bears are one of those innumerable animal species, that is soon disappearing from the Earth, just because humans exist on it. No matter how harsh that sounds, I am not afraid of hurting people’s sensibilities, to state what is a crude fact. It is us, humans, who are playing God today, deciding the fate of these beautiful creatures. If you have a conscience and a concerned heart, you will arm yourself with all the polar bear facts today. This way, we can make small changes to our lifestyles, just to accommodate these polar bears, and no matter which continent we come from, the Arctic soul will always be grateful. Let us begin this ‘all about polar bears’ article with simple facts like, what are polar bears and where do polar bears live?

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

The Cute, The Cuddly, The Ferocious – Polar Bear Facts

An article on polar bear facts has to start with what are polar bears and their adaptations. Polar bears are the nearest relatives of the grizzly brown bears and are also known as the sea bears (Ursus Maritimus). They are about 6 to 10 feet tall and weigh anything between 200 and 770 kg, depending on their gender. Some prominent polar bear adaptations are found in their make up. Their short, thin fur works so well against the cold, that they are in more danger of overheating than of catching a cold. Polar bears sport a short snout and small ears, which also keep the cold at bay. The best of polar bear adaptations are their teeth. Polar bear teeth are specialized tools for their 100% carnivorous diets. Their feet soles are specially designed to get a good grip on the ice floes and their claws are shorter and curvier than their other bear counterparts.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Polar bears top the arctic food chain and have humans as their only natural predators. If you want to know what do polar bears eat? I would say mainly seals, so know that if they disappear, there will be no stopping a world ‘seal’ takeover. Polar bears live between 15 to 18 years, but are known to double their lifespans when kept in captivity. Polar bears are not territorial and roam large expanses (about 180 miles) of Arctic floes on a solitary ‘go alone’ basis. Polar bears are well adapted for facing the extreme temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius (-50 F). Polar bears do not drink water as most of their body water requirement is fulfilled by the seals they prefer to eat. They are also known to hunt whales and walruses when the goings get tough. Polar bears can smell a whale carcass from over 20 miles away and their stand out black noses can be visible for 6 miles, from a pair of binoculars.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Polar Bear Habitat

Where do polar bears live? That’s a difficult question. Polar bears currently live in the Circumpolar region of the Northern Hemisphere. Their territories overlap the international boundaries of 5 nations – Alaska (US), Canada, Russia, Greenland (Denmark) and Norway. If someone told you that they even inhabit the cold regions in the Southern Hemisphere, the person is very ignorant and very wrong. Before the century is up, if you ask me the same question again, my answer to ‘where do polar bears live’, might change and become your local zoo. If nothing is done by then, the next century answer could even be, “Ah, polar bears, oh you mean the stuffed caricatures in the historic museum, right?” For now, the polar bear status is that polar bear habitats are limited to the ice-covered areas of water which are more shallow and near the shore. The 19 discrete polar bear populations, all seek shallow water areas, where the ocean currents deposit marine produce and the surface ice does not get threateningly solid. Polar bears cannot be rehabilitated anywhere, other than the Arctic ice sheets, so protecting that ice will protect them as well.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

How do Polar Bears Live

If you are keen on conserving polar bears, it’s necessary to know how polar bears live and make an effort to protect their habitat. Since polar bears are huge animals, their daily food requirement is also very high. As I said earlier, polar bears’ favorite food is seals, so they are known to spend half of the year on sea ice in search of their preferred prey; however, they can eat almost anything when they are extremely hungry. Polar bear habitat includes both sea ice and land, they spend some part of the year either in the sea or on land. Polar bears can easily survive in the Arctic region due to their peculiarity of adjusting to extremely cold temperatures. Every year in summers, seals migrate to other regions due to climatic changes and polar bears also travel with seals to ensure they have enough food resources to survive. They return to their previous destinations only when the water begins to freeze again. That’s the reason, you can find polar bears on the shore during summers and beginning of fall.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Polar Bears in Global Warming – The Plight of the Damned

The current polar bear status is that of an endangered animal, as there are only around 20,000 – 25,000 polar bears existing worldwide. Those managing to survive today are seen with reduced body weights and high cub moralities. There is also a general decline in reproduction rates. The fall in polar bear numbers can be attributed to the loss of sea ice (they mostly inhabit the sea ice and not the land ice) due to its rapid thinning and melting. On May 14th, 2008, polar bears were declared a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This happened because of global warming and other threats, such as pollution, poaching and industrial externalities. The interrelationship of polar bears and global warming can be grasped from the following statistics. Between the 1960 and 1990, 32% of the Arctic sea ice has thinned. There has been a 9.8% decline in the year round sea ice since 1978. Tell me, how do we protect them? Just imagine if the earth was shrinking suddenly, at alarming rates, where would you stand? Imagine your extinction and it will be easier to stop theirs.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Polar Bear Hunting – Retaliatory Polar Bear Attacks on Humans

Polar bear hunting cannot be banned, as it is a means of survival to locals in the harsh Arctic environment. Polar bear hunting in sustainable levels is allowed there, but the monitoring lacks luster. Illegal poaching of these beautiful animals is a very lucrative trade, as their fur and meat fetch good market prices. Polar bears carry a good trophy value as well. In retaliation, polar bears seem to recognize humans as their only powerful predator. Though rare, polar bear attacks on humans are something that gives them really bad PR, when they obviously need a good word for active conservation efforts to gain global momentum.

The Polar Bear Hope – Baby Polar Bears

Baby polar bears come in only one size, tiny, for they are no larger than rats. Polar bear cubs are completely dependent on their mothers, for a long time, if they are to survive in the worst possible place to rear babies. The polar bear life cycle ensures that a healthy amount of cubs are born annually, but it does not ensure their survival. Baby polar bears have many natural enemies to add to the already difficult land and the food scarcity problems. Baby polar bears face the threat of starvation as their mothers are becoming increasingly lean, and with inadequate fat to pass on to the cubs.

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Arctic Food Chain

Ordinary humans go by the motto – what doesn’t affect us, doesn’t concern us. Great people have the power and desire to save the tigers, fight for the giant pandas and rescue the polar bears. Ordinary people will wait for the Earth to shrink, great people will find a new world. Know this, and know this well, if these animals add to the extinct animals’ list, you will be affected, irrespective of where you stay. You may not know it now, the effect that I talk of, but I just hope that it is not too late, by the time the slow ones to catch up. I for one, am not waiting, I will conserve electricity, use biodegradable items and take public transport to do my bit against global warming. Join me and save the polar bears, and of course the tigers, the giant pandas, the white rhinos and…

By Sayali Bedekar Patil
Article Source: buzzle.com