Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
The polar bear is the northern brother of our brown bear. It is much larger than all other bears: in height it reaches 1.5 m, and in length - up to 3 m. The weight of a polar bear can reach 700 kg. The traveler Lion notes that during the passage through the Bering Strait, they were killed seventeen bears, seven of which weighed 750 kg each. He rightly can be called the king of the Arctic Ocean.
Polar bear differs from other of its relatives by a more elongated body - awkward, but rather elongated; short, thick, but strong paws. On the paws he has wide feet, much longer than his relatives - it's more convenient when walking on snow, and also when swimming. In addition, the fingers are connected by a thick swimming membrane, and ends with medium thick and crooked claws. Long, shaggy and thick fur consists of a short undercoat and smooth glossy and rather soft hair that are shorter on the head, neck and back and longer on the back of the body, belly, paws and lower parts of the feet. The seasons do not affect the color of the coat: it is always snow-white or milky-yellow.
The polar bear lives in the Far North, but the limit of its distribution in the North is still not known. It is known that he dwells even where the human foot has not yet set foot. Wherever the travelers traveled, they met the polar giant everywhere. It can be seen on the east coast of America, near Baffinov and Hudson Bay, on Spitsbergen and other islands not only on land, but also on ice. The new Earth is its main habitat, but in Lapland and Iceland it can be found floating on a drifting ice floe: in more southerly countries, the bear does not fall by its own will, but only if it is brought in.
At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, there is a sharp decline in the number of polar bears. Firstly, because of hunting for them: many want to place in their room a white, warm, silk skins. But they hunt polar bears also for the sake of its meat and fat: many travelers consider polar bear meat tasty, although it is believed that people who eat such meat quickly turn gray. The Norwegian government, in order to protect these animals, allowed the killing of polar bears only in extreme necessity, in self-defense. Special bodies investigate each such case. Find out whether the bear really attacked himself or whether there is a person's fault. Feeding a bear or trying to photograph it is a provocation. It is forbidden to kill a bear in retaliation for the damage caused. Secondly, the polar bear is very sensitive to environmental conditions, especially to the type of pollution, such as oil spills. Annually hundreds of polar bears die because of this ecological catastrophe.
Outwardly it may seem that this animal is rather awkward, but this is a deceptive opinion. This is evident in the example of his swimming skills. The polar bear mastered them perfectly. The speed with which he evenly dissects water expanses for hours, equals 4-5 kilometers per hour. A huge mass of fat acts as a swimming pillow. For a long day a polar bear can swim a huge distance, absolutely without interruption. At temperatures below zero, the bear can swim up to 80 km in the Arctic water. He dives as skillfully as he swims on the surface of the water: to pull salmon for him is the simplest task. And on land, he is not so clumsy. This is his usual gait sluggish and measured, and if necessary he can launch into a lynx or gallop, and then the bear moves with astonishing speed. He is very well oriented in space and easily chooses a shorter and easier road. Polar bears are more often found singly, but it happens that they gather in packs of 20 or more heads.
Terrible this predator is because he has very developed all the senses, especially his good eyesight and sense of smell. The bear can see its victim for many kilometers, and the dead whale can smell, even if it is near the opposite shore. The polar bear is the largest Arctic animal, so it is not afraid of other animals. This bear is very curious. He attracts everything new, the taste of which he surely checks. The daily diet is the meat of almost all those animals that live in the sea and on the ice-covered land. The polar bear prefers to hunt in the water, but terrestrial animals are not protected from his attacks. A real delicacy for the bear are the eggs and chicks in the nests of polar birds.
The polar bear does not fall into a hibernation, is incredibly resistant to cold and can tolerate a negative temperature of up to 80 degrees: the main thing is that there is an open reservoir next to it, without ice. A warm temperature creates enormous discomfort for him. If the temperature fluctuations are very strong, then polar bears can simply postpone reproduction. This is not very good for their population - the rate of reproduction is declining. Female, like males, hunt all the time, but females rest only during pregnancy. A pregnant female experiences autumn and winter in a dug, which, covered with a thick layer of snow, is a very comfortable home for her. Fat, which she accumulates before pregnancy, the bear consumes the entire pregnancy, because she keeps the lair only when the sun rises high in the spring, and with two cubs already. The female takes care of them and quickly teaches them all the wisdoms of existence and hunting.
In some regions, a person and a polar bear live next door, and in others - people are not part of their usual environment. In this case, the bear may be interested in a person, and this is not very safe. Nevertheless, it is not aggression that prompts him to get closer, but curiosity, and only if a person, without realizing this, starts to defend himself, a polar bear can aggressively attack him. The prolonged absence of food makes the polar bear very dangerous, as is the food received from the person: then they already perceive the person as a source of nutrition. You must always remember the correct behavior in relation to the bears. Practically no event can lead him to an aggressive state, except for only the case when a person hunts him. Then the bear will see a potential enemy in the person. Nevertheless, approximately 15 people die from the clutches of the bears each year.
But what to do when you meet a bear? In order not to become another victim of a polar bear, remember the following rules:
And finally, if the bear nevertheless ignores all your warnings and continues to approach, know that you have no other choice - shoot. However, even fatal shots do not lead to the immediate death of the animal, so it is necessary to do everything possible to avoid these extreme situations.
- If there is a chance of encountering a bear, do not ever leave without a weapon. You can stock up with at least signal rockets. Bright lights and hiss can drive away an uninvited guest.
- Be always on the alert. Try to stay out of sight of the predator. Hide or turn aside.
- Never feed an animal, so you will teach it to visit your camp or home.
- Watch the behavior of dogs. They start barking when they feel an uninvited guest.
- Watch the pose of the bear. The curious bear moves evenly, bends the head up and down, draws in the air. Can also rise to the hind legs, to better see. All this is not a sign of aggression. Be careful to be with a bear that tries to approach, remaining outside your field of vision. This means that he hunts. Before the attack, the bear can click the jaws, but can attack without warning.
- Various items emitting loud sound will be released. Especially polar bears do not like the noise of the motor - they immediately try to escape.