International Polar Bear Day
Polar bears, majestic and furry beasts that roam the Arctic ice, are furry and magnificent. The polar ice caps have been shrinking over the last few decades as sea ice has been melting rapidly in the Arctic. Polar bears are suffering from loss of habitat, food sources, and eventually starvation and exhaustion as a result.
International Polar Bear Day is an international day to raise awareness about the threats facing these animals and to encourage change.
The Arctic’s apex predators, the polar bears, are perfectly adapted for the harsh Arctic environment. They are thought to have diverged from the brown bear 6 million years ago. As they moved northward, they evolved to withstand the harsh polar conditions.
These ice bears are more susceptible to overheating due to their thick fur and large body fat. They also have small ears and tails that minimize heat loss. This is combined with their large, cushioned paws that make them powerful swimmers and Arctic explorers. They can spread their weight on thin, slippery ice and grip onto it, making these marine mammals the most popular in the food chain.
The Arctic Ocean is home to polar bears. They can be found from Alaska in the west, Russia in the east, and around two-thirds of them in Canada. They mostly eat seals. They catch them either by creeping up on them as they rest on the glacier or by a technique called’still hunting’ in which they wait near seals’ breathing holes for their meal to arrive.
Inuits and other Arctic peoples have a close relationship to these majestic bears. They show great respect for their culture and hunting techniques. Folklore and legends portray the nanuq, an Inuit term for polar bear, as a wise and spiritual being who has a strong affinity with humans. They hunt almost every part of the bear, so there is no waste.
International Polar Bear Day is an initiative of Polar Bears International. It aims to raise awareness about the plight and threats facing polar bears, including disruptions to their denning and climate change.
Oil and gas exploration, shipping and mining, as well as tourism, have all had an impact on the survival of the polar bear.
These industries are competing for Arctic space, and the polar ice caps on which bears depend is melting because of climate change. The sea ice is their only source of food and they rely on it for travel, hunting, breeding, and denning. It is vital that they have sufficient fat reserves to withstand the cold. The loss of sea ice can affect their food supply and habitat, making it more difficult to raise cubs.
These developments have resulted in polar bears being classified as ‘vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, (IUCN). This means that this beautiful species could see its numbers decline by more than a third in three generations and may be at risk of extinction if they continue to rise in temperatures.
International Polar Bear Day is all about conservation. People take the time to learn more about polar bears and their environment, as well as how we have contributed to their extinction. They pledge to reduce their carbon footprint, and to share information with others about the impacts of climate change on polar bears.
All of us can do our part to ensure the survival and protection of these endangered creatures. You can celebrate by donating money to Polar Bears International to support their research on polar bears and their conservation. You can also adopt a Polar Bear, for yourself or for a loved one through organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
You can get close to these incredible animals if you live in close proximity to one. These organizations are great for supporting research and conservation, such as caring for abandoned cubs. Any intrepid explorers can encounter polar bears in their natural habitat through ecotourism opportunities that are thoughtful and caring.
Polar Bears International organizes live events during the week leading up to and on International Polar Bear Day. Visit their website to find out more. Their polar bear tracker allows you to follow the movements of real bears across the Arctic landscape.
Climate change is a major threat to wildlife and humans all over the world. International Polar Bear Day is a great opportunity to make lifestyle changes to benefit the planet as well as its inhabitants. Discuss climate change with family, friends and colleagues and share what you know about the effects it has on polar bears. Reduce your carbon footprint by recycling more and using less water.