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Polar Bear Photos

Polar Bear family on pack ice

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Polar Bear Cubs
Alaska Polar Bear Photos
Polar Bear Family
Polar Bear Photos

Alaska is home to some of the largest and most intriguing wildlife. The Polar Bear is one of the most loved. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including Polar Bear Photos. To find more pictures of Alaska or photos of Polar Bears, visit our search page.

Pictures of Polar Bears
Polar Bear on Ice
The Polar Bear is unique in many ways; not only does it have beautiful white coat of fur but the Polar Bear is also the top carnivore in the Arctic region, is closely associated with living on sea ice, but is only found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Polar Bear hunting
Polar Bear looking for food

Not surprisingly, the Polar Bear and Brown Bear (Grizzly) share the same ancestors. However, each has developed their own specializations over time for living in their respective regions. The Polar Bear has white fur for camouflage ? partly for protection but largely to allow it to more easily sneak up on prey. The Polar Bear?s coat also has guard hairs that are water repellent and a dense underfur for warmth. Other specialized characteristics of the Polar Bear are a short and furred snout, short ears, teeth specialized for eating meat rather than for an omnivorous diet, and hair that covers the bottom of their feet. A full grown adult male Polar Bear will weigh approximately 1500 pounds while a female will weigh about half as much to as little as a third as much. Cubs are born weighing a mere two pounds.

Polar Bears are considered solitary animals. With the exception of females caring for their young, Polar Bears will wander the sea ice alone in constant search of food. During breeding season, the males will seek out receptive females, but will not stay with them for very long and will quickly move on to find another female. Pregnant females will start building their dens during late October and will build them on land or the sea ice. As winter lengthens and snow accumulates or drifts in, the female will continually manipulate the snow and increase the size of her den until it will accommodate the impending family. A female gives birth to generally two cubs which generally emerge from the den at about 15 pounds. The cubs will stay with the mother until they are about 28 months. Once the cubs head out on their own, the female will once again be receptive to a male. On average, a female produces cubs every three years. Polar bears have been recorded to live to 32 years of age, but 25 is more typical.
Polar Bear family
Polar Bear family

There are two main populations of Polar Bears in Alaska; the Beaufort Sea population occurs along the North Slope of Alaska and ranges into western Canada. The Chukchi population occurs off western Alaska with its range extending to Wrangel Island and eastern Siberia. Polar Bears are nomadic and tend to follow the sea ice as it changes with the seasons. However, pregnant females concentrate for winter denning on Wrangel Island and other Russian islands, islands in the Canadian arctic, Greenland, and the north Alaska coast, especially within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the adjacent sea ice.

Native Alaskan subsistence hunting
Native Alaskan subsistence hunting
The Polar Bear is considered a marine mammal and is protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972. Under this act, authority over the Polar Bear was transferred from the state to the Federal government which put a moratorium on hunting Polar Bears except by Alaska Natives. Although this served to protect the total population of bears, the proportion of females and cubs increased dramatically. In 1976, the five Polar Bear nations ratified a pact that allows bears to be taken only in areas where they have been taken by traditional means in the past and prohibits the use of aircraft and large motorized vessels as an aid to taking. The agreement has created a high seas polar bear sanctuary but does not prohibit recreational hunting from the ground using traditional methods. In Canada, recreational hunting of polar bears currently provides significant economic benefits to Native people.

Books of Interest:

The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World An intimate photographic expose on the fragile existence of the polar bear, paired with essays revealing our critical connection to life in the Arctic. 200 full-color images of the polar bear in its Arctic habitat, taken over a six-year period. The Last Polar Bear Project is a book, exhibit, media, and educational outreach campaign funded through the generosity of individual donors and foundations. Scientists agree that by the end of this century the polar bear will be the first mammal threatened with extinction due to climate change. The Last Polar Bear is the first book to fully document that story.

Polar Bears - Every once in a while a book comes along that combines both art and research so completely, so intuitively, that it becomes a classic, offering the reader not only a wealth of information, but an escape into the life of the subject covered. Polar Bears is such a book. Here, you will learn from one of the world's leading polar bear experts, Ian Stirling, how the polar bear evolved and adapted to its world of snow and ice.

Heart of the Arctic: The Story of a Polar Bear Family (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection. the Wild Alaska Series) - A mother polar bear gives birth to two cubs under the frozen tundra and cares for them until the next winter, teaching them to survive on their own.

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