Want to get to know the world's favorite arctic dweller? Here are a few polar bear facts that will leave you speechless.
1. Polar bears are amazing swimmers:
Polar bears can swim continuously for days at a time, as well as reaching speeds of up to 6 mph in the water. Polar bears swim for long distances and many hours to get where they need to go. Their large paws are adapted for swimming, used as paddles while holding their hind legs straight in the water like a ship's rudder.
2. Most Polar Bears live in Canada:
Polar bear populations are down to only 26,000 wild bears, divided into 19 units or subpopulations. Out of these populations only 1 is increasing in size. Most of these 19 populations make their home in Canada, spread out through parts of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
3. Polar Bears are not actually white:
The polar bear's fur is translucent and appears white only because it reflects the surrounding visible light. Beneath all that thick fluffy fur, their skin is jet black. The bear's fur helps it camouflage itself in the snow.
4. Polar bears are incredible mothers:
Mother bears are teachers and protectors. They keep their cubs close by and ‘clack’ at them when they wander too far. They will fight off predators – including larger male bears. Their dedication can even extend past their cubs’ lives: mother bears have been seen protecting dead cubs, refusing to leave them even when threats emerge. During their 2-3 years together, the cubs mimic their mothers’ every move, learning how to hunt, swim, den, and migrate. The mother bears teach their cubs everything they need to know for adulthood.
5. Polar bears will be extinct in less than a century:
Climate change remains the greatest threat to the polar bear’s survival. With more sea ice melting away every year, the bears are constantly losing their habitats. Forced to swim more often between ice patches in search of food. If their search is fruitless, polar bears become exhausted and can starve to death. Another great threat emerging in the past few years is coming from the oil and gas industry turning its eyes to the arctic, bringing with it further habitat destruction from oil exploration work.
You can make a difference today by planting a tree and protecting polar bears with our Treehuggers Polar Bear Braided Bracelet. Show your support and give these wonderful creatures a fighting chance!