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Friday, 24 March 2017

Polar bear

HISTORY

In 1252, King Haakon IV of Norway sent a polar bear to London as a present to King Henry III. It was the first polar bear seen in Britain.

King Henry kept the polar bear at the Tower of London. The sheriffs of London provided twopence a day for the bear's upkeep and when this ran out, it was allowed to catch fish in the River Thames.

The King commanded that the sheriffs provide a muzzle, chain and strong cord to hold the bear as it swam in the Thames.

Haakon IV gave polar bears to other monarchs including Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.


The first polar bear in America was exhibited in Boston on January 18, 1733. When asked what polar bears ate, the handler said "drunk Irishmen."

Polar bears were originally known as white bears. The term polar bear was first recorded in 1781.

A starving polar bear in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard attacked a party of British school children on August 5, 2011. The team was camping near the Von Post glacier, some 25 miles (40 km) from the settlement of Longyearbyen when they encountered the emaciated bear. 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, a pupil of Eton College, died of injuries sustained and four others were hurt, two seriously, The bear was shot dead by one of the expedition's leaders, Spike Reid, who himself suffered severe facial injuries.


FAMOUS POLAR BEARS

Gus was a 700-pound (320 kg) polar bear and icon of the Central Park Zoo in New York City. He died aged 27 on August 27, 2013 after being visited by over 20 million people during his lifetime.

Gus came to public notice in the 1990s, when he began swimming obsessively in his pool for up to 12 hours a day. Reporters dubbed him "neurotic", "depressed", "flaky", and "bipolar," turning him into a "symbol of the stress of living in New York City". As part of his therapy and treatment, Gus was the first zoo animal in history to be treated with Prozac.

Gus in November 2011. By Marie-Lan Nguyen -  Wikipedia Commons

On December 13, 2016, Philadelphia Zoo celebrated their polar bear Coldilocks' 36th birthday—she's now the oldest polar bear in America.

POPULATION AND REPRODUCTION

The latest estimate of the worldwide polar bear population by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is 28,500. Around 70 per cent are found in Canada.

Polar bears have a very slow reproductive rate, females typically having only five litters (usually of two cubs) in a lifetime.

For polar bears, a single mating session may last up to 65 minutes, with a male mating with the same female for as long as 10 days.

BEHAVIOR 

The polar bear is the most carnivorous of all bears. Their main diet consists of seals and fish.

AWeith Wikipedia 

They can smell a seal 20 miles away.

Polar bears will eat almost anything they come across, however toxic - hence the need to keep them away from rubbish dumps.

When it comes to hunting, the polar bear is at a disadvantage. Most Arctic land animals can outrun it, and most marine animals can outswim it. They catch prey mostly by waiting patiently at seal breathing holes.

Polar bears often hunt walruses by simply charging at a group of them and eating the ones that were crushed or wounded in the mass panic to escape. Direct attacks are rare.

There is no evidence for the common belief that polar bears camouflage themselves by covering their black noses when hunting on the ice.

When polar bears are in a good mood they like to float on the surface of the water.

ANATOMY

Polar bears fur is made up of a layer of dense underfur and an outer layer of guard hairs, which appear white but are in fact transparent. They reflect light, so they appear white.


Polar bears have so much blubber and fur for insulation that they are almost invisible when photographed with infrared film, which detects heat. The only part that can be seen is a spot in front of the bear's mouth made by its warm breath.

The fur of bears kept in captivity can turn pale green, owing to algae forming inside the guard hairs.

The skin of a polar bear is black, which helps it to absorb more of the heat from the sun.

An adult male polar bear typically weighs around 351kg (775lb) or the weight of about five men. Females weigh half as much.

When born, the cubs weigh only about 500g, or 1lb.


The largest polar bear ever recorded was a male weighing in at 2,209lb - that's very nearly a ton.

Polar bears have 42 teeth.

Polar bears can run at 25 miles an hour and jump more than six feet in the air.

Polar bears don't slip because they have hairs on the soles of their feet that grip the ice

Polar bears are left handed.

FUN POLAR BEAR FACTS

The scientific name for the polar bear is Thalarctos maritimus from the Greek arktos, “bear”, and thalassa, “sea”.

Thalassarctine means of or pertaining to the polar bear.


One pound of polar bear liver contains enough vitamin A to fulfill a human's needs for 20 years.

In the 19th century a team of Arctic explorers all died from a vitamin A overdose caused by eating a polar bear’s liver.

It is customary for the residents of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to leave their car doors unlocked in case someone needs to take shelter from a Polar Bear.

Source Daily Express

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