Polar bears are the largest carnivorous land animals and can be found in the Arctic Circle. They sit at the top of their food chain and help provide remains of animals, primarily seals, as food sources to other animals. Even though they live on land, they’re also considered marine mammals since they spend a large portion of their lives on the ice and swimming in the Arctic Circle, hunting for food. Here are some more great facts about the polar bear; learn as much as you can and how to help them since they’re considered a vulnerable species.
As most people realize, polar bears look white in color. However, something that might be less known is that polar bears do not actually have white fur. Each hair in their coat is a clear, hollow tube that reflects the light around them, which helps with blending into the snow and ice. Their fur is thick and their skin is naturally black in color in order to sustain as much heat in their bodies as possible. Polar bears also have a layer of blubber that keeps them warm, since they live in one of the harshest environments in the world and frequently dive into freezing water to hunt.
The majority of a polar bear’s diet consists of seals, though they will eat other marine animals if the opportunity arises. They have a highly advanced sense of smell and can detect prey up to nearly 10 miles away. Polar bears often swim in order to capture their prey, but do not have much luck catching seals in open water, so they have to find other methods to catch their food. Polar bears travel in the water and ice to find air holes seals surface at and then patiently wait to catch their prey.
Currently, the polar bear population is considered vulnerable. For a while, it seemed as those these animals were at an immediate risk of becoming extinct, but thanks to heightened awareness, the threat is not as serious as it was a few years ago. However, there are still plenty of risks to the polar bear population. Since polar bears are at the top of their food chain, their only real predator is humans. There is some hunting and poaching of polar bears, but the largest threat from humans is climate change. As the Arctic warms, more and more sea ice continues to melt, which often leaves polar bears without a home and makes hunting for food much more difficult. It’s important to spread awareness of these threats in order to work toward a solution for helping polar bears.
What you can do
As with any endangered animal, there are various ways you can help. One of the best ways to help threatened animals is through raising awareness. Share information about the creatures and make sure people have the facts. Educate yourself through reading articles and watching documentaries. Another great way is to donate to organizations that help endangered animals. You can find a specialized philanthropy or one that generally focuses on endangered animals.