Polar bears

Polar bears travel with such authority over the ice that, as the naturalist John Muir said, they move ‘as if the country had belonged to them always.’ Watch polar bears leap from iceberg to hard pack, swim from sheet to shore with cubs on their back, amble alone over frozen tundra with nothing from horizon to horizon and wait with intense patience for days for seals to breech their holes, and you’ll build upon the polar bear fascination many of us hold. Polar bears are the world’s largest land carnivores, though they spend most of their time at sea; hunting seals from pack ice. They are closely related to the brown bear, but have evolved in a particular ecological niche; though the two types have bred and reared fertile offspring, the polar bear has distinct features, beyond its white fur, that are very specific to survival in colder climes. Not least being its broad, furred and clawed feet. With these it walks, lopes and swims, even paddling prone to slide over slippery ice, around the Arctic pack to hunt seals. The Polar bear is central to the spiritual and cultural life of Arctic indigenous peoples, and it’s easy to see why when watching these polar kings and queens move through their environment with such confidence. From Svalbard through Greenland and Canada, and on to Alaska, Russia, and all over the North Pole, the iconic polar bear is a most spectacular and heart-stopping wildlife experience.

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