The Polar Bear Essays Examples
The genus Ursus under the family Ursidae includes four unique species: (1) Brown Bear, or Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos), (2) Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), (3) American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), and (4) Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus). Among these four species, the polar bears are considered to be with the most risk from global warming (Derocher, Lunn & Stirling, 2004).
Throughout history, polar bears are considered as sea-loving creatures; Ursus maritimus is a translation to Latin of the phrase "bear of the sea". Several common names exist including Ah tik tok, which is an Alaskan Eskimo phrase which means "those that go down to the sea". Other common names include nanook, ice bear and sea bear.1 Lineage studies suggest that the six distinct species under the genus Ursus (some of which have been extinct) have probably radiated from a common ancestry about 6.3 million years ago (mya). To be specific, polar bears are highly pagophilic, which means that they have evolved from one of another species, probably the brown bears, to exploit the resources from an unoccupied niche but biologically productive. 2
With an average length of 7.25 to 8 feet from head to rump, the polar bears are the largest among the living bears. In fact, the polar bears are the largest land carnivores. An average polar bear stands 3.5 to 5 feet when on all fours but could reach more than 10 feet when standing on its hind legs. An average male polar bear weighs about 775 to 1200 pounds while females weigh about half as much.
Their hair is transparent but appears white because of light refraction through the hair strands. However, some may appear yellowish, brown, or gray, because of oxidation, seasonal situations and light conditions. Underneath the transparent hair, their skin is black so that it would absorb the heat of the sun. 3
Among the living species of bears, the polar bears have the coldest and northernmost habitat. In fact, their primary habitat is located at North Polar Basin but extends to northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and northern parts of Russia. The regions with the most population of polar bears are shallow waters near the shore 1. Their diet consists mostly of Ringed Seals (Phoca hispida) but they hunt for other types of seals. They usually eat the skin and blubber while leaving most of the meat. In summer, they rely on grass, small mammals, birds and eggs when there's unavailability of preferred food 1.
According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), there are around 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears remaining in the world 4. Since they spent mostly on sea ice and polar ice, they are with the most risks from rapid global warming 2.
Numerous documented studies suggest that climactic warming results to inevitable damages especially for polar bears. Sea ice is vital for survival for polar bears; thus, significant reduction of ice affects the arctic ecosystem 2. Moreover, the population of the polar bears classifies the polar bears under the “Vulnerable” species since 1982. Needless to say, there is a necessity in the formation of a regulating body that would highly influence the decisions concerning the present changes on the habitat, appearance, diet, and population of the polar bears.
Bradford, Alina. “Polar Bear Facts.” Live Science, November 24, 2014. http://www.livescience.com/27436polarbearfacts.html
Defenders of Wildlife. “BASIC FACTS ABOUT POLAR BEARS.”Accessed April 5, 2015. http://www.defenders.org/polarbear/basicfacts
Derocher, A.E., Lunn, N., & Stirling, I. “Polar Bears in a Warming Climate.” Integrative and Comparative Biology 44, no. 2 (2004): 163-176.
San Diego Zoo Global. “Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus.” August 2009. http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/polar_bear/polar.htm
Schliebe, S., Wiig, Ø., Derocher, A. & Lunn, N. “Ursus maritimus.” IUCN. March 2014. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/summary/22823/0
York, Geoff. “Why polar bears matter.” The Arctic Journal. February 27, 2015. http://arcticjournal.com/opinion/1358/whypolarbearsmatter