WHERE CAN YOU FIND A POLAR BEAR?
The polar bear is arguably the most impressive and iconic mammals of the arctic tundra. Unfortunately, due to a combination of hunting, loss of habitat, increased pressure from an expanding local human population, global warming and the associated melting of the ice caps and accidental poisoning, polar bear numbers are now in decline. So, with that in mind, where today can you find a polar bear?
The polar bear - Ursus maritimus, is a bear native mainly found within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, and adjacent land masses as far south as Newfoundland Island.
Polar bears spend most of their time along the southern edge of the Arctic pack ice – a combination of pack ice, open water and coastal land.
Thankfully, due to the absence of human development in its remote habitat, it is able to retain more of its original range than any other carnivore living today.
The range includes the territory of five nations: Denmark (Greenland), Norway (Svalbard), Russia, the United States (Alaska) and Canada. These five nations are the signatories of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, which mandates cooperation on research and conservations efforts throughout the polar Bear's range.
There are 19 generally recognised, discrete sub populations, and these sub populations display seasonal fidelity to particular areas. However, DNA studies show that they are not reproductively isolated.
Of the 19 recognised polar bear sub populations, eight are declining, three are stable, one is increasing, and seven have insufficient data, as of 2009.
It is difficult to estimate a global population of polar bears as much of the range has been poorly studied; however, biologists use a working estimate of about 20,000–25,000 polar bears worldwide.
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Images care of http://www.uux.cn/batch.download.php?aid=31682 and http://www.bearsoftheworld.net/polar_bears.asp
Based on an article from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_bear