It is a common misconception that polar bears live in both the North Pole and the South Pole. Polar Bears do roam the Arctic circle, but not the Antarctic. Governments and scientists have designated 19 populations of polar bears based in four different sea ice regions in the Arctic.
These sea ice regions function as distinct management units and are spread out among five countries: Canada, the United States (Alaska), Greenland, Russia, and Norway.
60% of the total population of polar bears actually live in Canada where one of our partners for the month of February, Polar Bears International, is based.
Churchill, which lies on the edge of Hudson in Canada's Manitoba region is one of the best known places in the world for seeing polar bears. During the winter when the bay freezes over, the bears live 40-150 miles out on the ice where they are able to hunt seals throughout the winter.
Although they spend a good majority of their time on "land," Polar Bears are extremely good swimmers. Their giant paws are slightly webbed to help them swim and they can sustain a 6mph pace.
In fact, they are actually classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
In the wild, Polar Bears do not have any natural predators. It was once reported that Orcas may prey on these bears but there have been no official documented cases on such behavior. Their only threats are being hunted for their white fur by humans and from the increasing amount of habitat loss they are experiencing from global climate change.
Polar Bears are actually the largest terrestrial, predatory carnivore on the planet.
While it is true that Polar Bears have white fur which helps them to camouflage in their environment, they are not completely white. Unlike most other animals with hair, a polar bear's hairs is hollow, making their coat transparent. They also have black skin!
Now that you know the facts about polar bears, we encourage you to go share your newfound knowledge! If you want to help make a difference for these amazing creatures and the oceans they depend on, you can purchase a limited edition Polar Bear Bracelet for the entire month of February.
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4Ocean is partnering with SeaLegacy throughout the month of August to advocate for marine protected areas and support sustainable fisheries around the world.