My Blog List

Monday, October 29, 2012

A little Polar Bear Trivia

Could this be the most relaxed polar bear ever?After a hard day of work there is nothing better than sitting back, putting your feet up and relaxing - even if you're a polar bear.

Polar bear chilling out
 Just chillin': This polar bear is set to become famous (Picture: Caters)
Professional wildlife photographer Don Johnston has caught one polar bear doing just that, watching the world go by from the ice at Seal River Heritage Lodge, in Manitoba, Canada.

This area, on the shores of Hudson Bay, is known as the polar bear capital of the world, as the sea ice and its significant seal population attract the giant predators in great numbers.

After firing off a number of shots, Mr Johnston picked out this particular snap as his favourite as the bear looks 'so relaxed and comfortable'.

'I'd say the bear is just killing time. They wait for the ice to form on Hudson Bay, and then head out to feed on seals,' explained Mr Johnston, who had been watching the animals for some time.
'My guess is that the bear is conserving energy. At this time in the season they are hungry and they are waiting for the feeding conditions to improve.'
The polar bear's natural habitat, the sea ice of the Arctic Circle, is slowly receding due to climate change. It is thought that there are now only around 25,000 of these creatures left in the wild.

Felix the polar bear in a rage at Nuremberg Zoo
 Shocked visitors arrived at Nuremberg Zoo to find Felix with some camera gear in his jaws (Picture: Marion & Dieter Sempf/London Media)
Celebrities often react angrily when snapped by the paparazzi and Felix the polar bear was no different when a telephoto lens was accidentally dropped into his enclosure. He took exception to being disturbed by a zoo visitor who let the equipment slip out of her hands as she was changing lenses.  Felix examined the accessory, believed to be a Canon telephoto lens worth up to $2,000, before clamping it between his teeth.

Felix the polar bear in a rage at Nuremberg Zoo
 One unlucky photographer must have been left counting the cost of dropping their lens into the enclosure (Picture: Marion & Dieter Sempf/London Media
Polar bears come from Ireland, scientists claim
Although polar bears now live in the frozen wastes of the Arctic at the top of the world, scientists now think the mother of all polar bears was... Irish.
Celtic: A polar bear
Celtic: A polar bear
Their ancestors interbred with brown bears when climate change led to occasional overlaps in their habitats in ancient Ireland 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, a genetic study has shown.
The cross-species mating led to maternal DNA from brown bears being introduced into polar bears, which became ‘fixed’ in the species about 50,000 years ago. The finding overturns previous theories that the genetic material came from forebears that lived on several Alaskan islands 14,000 years ago, according to researchers in the US and Ireland.
Study co-author Beth Shapiro, of Penn State University, said: ‘The bottom line is that the two species bumped up against one another for extended periods of time on different occasions, sharing both habitats and genes.’
While polar bears are expert swimmers adapted to an Arctic lifestyle and brown bears are climbers who prefer living in mountains and valleys, the two species interbred on ‘many’ occasions over the last 100,000 years.
‘Whenever they come into contact, there seems to be little barrier to their mating,’ said Ms Shapiro.
She said modern day changes in the Arctic climate such as melting glacial ice and rising sea levels has led to sightings of several adult hybrid bears in the last five years. Those cross-breeds could have a role to play in the survival of certain species.
She said the findings could also help conservation strategies for the dwindling population of polar bears today.

Children get up close to polar bears in a pool in Canada
It's a heart-in-the-mouth moment when the world's biggest predator, the polar bear, is seemingly pictured paddling alongside unsuspecting children, but there's more to this picture than meets the eye...
Polar bear pool children CanadaThe world's biggest predator, the polar bear, is pictured paddling alongside unsuspecting children. (Picture: GERRY ROBICHAUD / CATERS NEWS)
It's a close encounter of the furred kind and the sort of moment parents can bearly watch.
These children have come within centimetres of the world’s biggest predator and lived to tell the tale.
The massive carnivores loom over their bite-size pool companions in what looks like an imminent disaster.

close encounter of the furred kind
Lucky that ten-inch sheet of glass is there, eh?

The children and their polar bear companions are in fact separated by a 25cm-thick (10in) toughened glass at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, Canada. Its aim is to help understanding of these amazing creatures and reduce hunting in the wild.
‘We get various reactions from the children, some of them can’t wait to get in the pool and others really don’t want to,’ said photographer Gerry Robichaud.
These bears, Aurora and Nikita, arrived as cubs from Hudson Bay after a hunter shot their mother.

Polar bear gives cub piggy back
Polar bears have been spotted carrying their cubs on their backs while they swim through icy waters, researchers have revealed.
A polar bear giving its cub a piggy back (PA)
A polar bear giving its cub a piggy back (PA)
Polar bear cub
The phenomenon, revealed while tagging and tracking polar bears, is thought to be new and the result of the bears having to swim longer distances in the sea because of reductions in the Arctic ice in the summer.
The scientists say that in the face of the longer swims, travelling on the mother's back could be vital for the survival of the cubs in waters surrounding scattered ice, which is prime seal-hunting territory for the animals. Travelling on the mother's back will mean the cub's body will be in direct contact with the adult's fur and a large part of the baby will be out of the icy water - reducing heat loss.
This is important because the young polar bears have not built up a sufficient layer of fat to stop them getting cold if they are swimming in the sea for a prolonged period of time.

Polar bear tripod
An Alaskan bear makes off with a photographer’s tripod
Meanwhile, on Barter Island off Alaska, Peter Howarth from Bristol was with a group of Americans taking pictures of three bears when the bears decided to charge. The humans fled to their truck leaving their tripods. Mr Howarth had to watch as the bear showed off his find to friends.


  1. Aunt Jeannie the polar bears act like people and the mama bears takes good care of the baby cubs . The polar bears are so big and pretty .
    I told daddy I want to make a posters of this one and make a speech , daddy siad he will help me .Aunt Jeannie MEMA said more people should watch animals more when they start to do strange thing something with the weather is going to happen . Animals are smart than some people I know the bears is smart than mr. Edwards , he is trying to learn the man has a hard head .
    Mama called miss .Davis today and said she wanted to get kids to write to the people in high office because some bad people want to get oil in the bears home . there are lots of schools here in caddo parish I just ask daddy how many he has and he said 49 schools . Mama said she will get special stamps and all our letters will be free to mail , Mama is working on the name and places and peiople we have to write .
    Aunt Jeannie ,I had to write it on paper so I will get it right . My sister and brothers sends you a lot of hugs and kisses .
    I am sending you a rainbow of flowers with my hugs and kisses and some gumdrops . Love you very much aunt Jeannie .

  2. Jeannie ,
    I look at Jen , I see so much of Baby in her , come hell or high water she is going to see it to the end (smiling ) .

    Jen wanted to get her comment to you so you would understand it because it was business and important , I advise her to write it on paper first and transfer it to the post when she got it the way she wanted it .

    Not only man has survival skills , even the lowly roach .

    People needs to start watching because a change is coming . Never seen or heard of a storm like Sandy .

    Again I think you for caring for my kids .

    PS: Also my wild child and older boy (dad) smiling .

  3. Dear Jenny,
    Mema is right. When animals act differently than they normally do, it means something in nature has changed and we should always find out what it is. It could affect people too.
    When I saw the polar bears start to carry their babies on their backs, I cried. They are desperately trying to find ways to survive. They know their cubs can not swim those extra long distances between the ice floes. You are was very clever of them to figure it out.

    Now there are people who want to drill for oil in the Arctic and spoil the rest of the habitat belonging to the bears and other Arctic animals.
    If you can win Mr Edwards(with his hard head)over to your cause, then you can convince anyone.

    Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if all the kids in 49 schools wrote letters to the politicians. That would sure get their attention. If anyone can get this ball rolling it is your mama. She is dynamite and so are you.

    I love my rainbow and gumdrops and always enjoy my hugs and kisses from you all. Thankyou...And I am sending you and your loyal knights
    a Halloween Jack'o lantern full of chocolate kisses and love....Aunt Jeannie

  4. Dear Gil,
    I can tell Jenny has her mother's determination and also her heart. They both have so much to give. And, like her mama, Jenny is a do-er.

    I observe the changing behavior of our bears and other animals( that is my particular love) and I find it, at once, frightening and a thing to marvel at. They try to adapt to the new environment, unlike humans who seek to change the environment to suit them.

    Sandy did not behave like a typical hurricane and was probably the most widespread storm we have ever seen. He/she is stil out there and will swing back into Canada on Wednesday.

    All your kids, big and small are pretty wonderful....Jeannie


Through these open doors you are always welcome