Polar bears are superbly adapted for life in a bitterly cold world of pack ice, tundra, coast and boreal forest. Their small ears and tail reduce heat loss, and they are the only bears that are completely covered in fur, except for the nose and pads of their feet. Their thick coat of guard hairs and underfur cover a layer of blubber up to 10cm thick, providing insulation against freezing winds and icy waters. In fact, polar bears are so good at staying warm that, when active, they can overheat when the temperature is only 0 degrees Celsius.
In the wild, polar bears spend the majority of their time travelling and hunting. They will travel many kilometres in a single day, climbing snow banks and steep ridges of ice, and leaping over cracks in th e ice that are more than 6 metres wide. A single bear may range over 3,000 kilometres in a year, covering a home territory that can be as large as 300,000 square kilometres. Polar bears are also adapted for life in the ocean and are expert long-distance swimmers. Their tapered head, streamlined body, and paddle-like feet, which have webbed toes, allow them to swim for many kilometres without stopping.
Wild polar bears are threatened by climate change because it is melting their Arctic home. Polar bears in captivity need help too because many of them are in poor conditions in zoos.
You Can Help Polar Bears!
- Reduce your climate change impact by using less energy and making sure you recycle at home.
- Speak up for Yupi, the polar bear, who lives in a Mexican Zoo. Visit SaveYupi.com to find out how.
- Organize a school fundraiser for the Yupi campaign, Zoocheck or for another organization that helps bears.
- Print this postcard template on card stock paper, draw a picture on the front, write a message on the back and mail it Governor of Michoacan.
Learn more about polar bears, arctic animals and the environment:
- Read this article about Polar Bears and Climate Change.
- Listen to this audio book of The Bear by Raymond Brigg.
- Read the books The Rainbow Bear by Michael Morpurgo, Mission: Polar Bear Rescue by Nancy Castaldo, and Waiting for Ice by Sandra Markle.
- Watch the movie Arctic Tale (2007) directed by Adam Ravetch & Sarah Robertson.
- Check out these cute pictures of Arctic Animals.