polar bear PHOTOS

 
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Polar Bear Pictures Showing The Worlds Largest Canivore on Land, Now Endangered by Global Warming

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The Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, spends most of its time on the frozen sea - its name means "maritime bear" - hunting from the sea ice. They are mostly solitary as adults, coming together for mating, and the females raise their cubs for two and a half years. Young males will playfight, which becomes more serious fighting as they mature and compete for a mate. Cubs are extremely playful. Despite a popular rumor, polar bears do not cover their black noses when hunting, if fact they use their keen sense of smell as their most powerful method for detection of prey

The mating season takes place on the sea ice during April and May, when the bears congregate at the prime seal hunting sites. Males will follow the track of a breeding female, and may fight another male for the rights to mate. The male and female will mate together over a week long period. The fertilized egg remains suspended while the female spends the next four months or so eating as much as she can, and often more than doubling her body weight. At the end of the hunting season, each pregnant bear will find a denning site, usually in a snowdrift on land or by digging out the ice in stable pack ice.

Unlike other bears, only pregnant females hibernate in dens in the winter. In the den she goes into a dormant state until the cubs are born approximately eight months after mating. Typically two cubs are born, though it can be from one to four. The cubs are blind and weigh less than two pounds each. The mother remains in the den, fasting, while the cubs feed and grow on her rich milk. The mother will break open the den in March or early April, when the cubs have grown to around 25 to 30 pounds. For about two weeks the family stays close to the den so that the cubs can learn to walk, then they make the long trek to the sea ice where the mother can again catch seals and begin to eat.

Female polar bears begin to breed at around four or five years old, and will give birth around five times in their lifetime, which is a very low rate for a mammal. Polar bears mothers are devoted to their young and will fight to protect them. The cubs are fully weaned at about two and a half years, when the mother will abandon them to fend for themselves. Researchers use the term COY, cub of the year, to identify the cubs born that year. The cubs sometimes travel together for months before becoming solitary. Cubs may be preyed upon by wolves, or die of starvation. Loss of the pack ice means the bears need to expend more energy and travel further to find food, which causes a higher mortality rate and a reduction in size among cubs and adults.

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Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, on ice, Spitsbergen, Norway

Picture #: 014562

Image of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, mother and cubs feeding, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Picture #: 009889

Stock photo of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, play fighting, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Picture #: 026154

Picture of a polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Picture #: 009887

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Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, feeding on carcass of bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus, 1002 Arctic Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Picture #: 008466

Image of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, mother with two first year cubs on pack ice, Spitsbergen, polar high Arctic, Atlantic

Picture #: 069434

Stock photo of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, in purple fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium, on sub-arctic island at Hubbart Point, Hudson Bay, near Churchill, Manitoba, northern Canada, approaching with caution and suspicion

Picture #: 071682

Picture of polar bears, Ursus maritimus, cubs, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, North Slope of Alaska

Picture #: 024146

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Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, foot print, Spur, Churchill , Canada

Picture #: 074322

Image of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, in summer, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, Arctic Ocean

Picture #: 073437

Stock photo of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, fighting, Hudson Bay, Cape Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Picture #: 075835

Picture of polar bears, Ursus maritimus, in summer, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, Arctic Ocean

Picture #: 073464

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Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, mother and cubs, on the shore of Hudson Bay, Cape Churchill, Canada

Picture #: 025020

Image of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, mother with cubs, near snow den at Wapusk National Park, Hudson Bay, Churchill area, Manitoba, northern Canada

Picture #: 071661

Stock photo of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, enjoys a jar of Miracle Whip at the local dump. Churchill, Canada, Arctic. The Churchill dump has since been closed to protect the bears from eating garbage.

Picture #: 068279

Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus, mother and cubs, Hudson Bay, Churchill, Canada

Picture #: 074326

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Picture of a polar bear, Ursus maritimus, sow and cub sliding on their backs over the pack ice, much like ice skating, 1002 coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Picture #: 021788

Image of a polar bear, Ursus maritimus, playing in snow, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, Arctic

Picture #: 062030

Stock photo of a polar bear, Ursus maritimus, at water's edge in summer, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, Arctic

Picture #: 073419

Picture of polar bear, Ursus maritimus,mother and cubs, feeding on baleen whale, note tracking collar on mother bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 area, North Slope of Alaska

Picture #: 025363

 

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