Mother Nature created the perfect snowy environment here in the Midwest to celebrate International Polar Bear Day. The day of recognition for this majestic bear was created by Polar Bears International (PBI). Their mission, as the world’s leading polar bear conservation group, is dedicated to saving polar bears by saving their sea ice home. Their focus is on research, education, and action.
Every February 27th celebrates the polar bear, and is a call to action to lower our carbon footprint, and save sea ice habitat. Do your part today by adjusting your thermostat to reduce energy consumption (other energy-saving ideas here). Perhaps you would also like to celebrate by adopting a polar bear. Ok, it’s a symbolic adoption, but you can imagine your adopted bear(s) frolicking in the tundra outside your window. Click here for adoption/donation details. Later today (3:30 CST), PBI will announce the winners of their Project Polar Bear Contest, via a special broadcast on the
PBI website at 3:30 p.m. CST on February 27. Project Polar Bear is a three-month-long competition that challenges teams of young people to design and carry out long-lasting community projects to reduce CO2.
You can also celebrate today by watching Siku via his personal webcam (click here for Siku Cam), from his home in the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Kolind. I enjoyed having breakfast with Siku (born 11/22/11) a few minutes ago. He is adorable!
Here are a few fun facts about Polar Bears I found on the PBI site:
- Only five nations host polar bears in the wild – Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United States (Alaska). In 2008, scientists estimated the polar bear population to be 20-25,000. Threats to their survival include: rapid loss of sea ice (their major threat), pollution, poaching, and industrial impact.
- In the wild, polar bears live an average 15 to 18 years, although biologists have tagged a few bears in their early 30s. In captivity, they may live until their mid- to late 30s. Debby, a zoo bear in Canada, lived to be 42.
- Polar Bears are big! Adult males normally weigh 351 to more than 544 kilograms (775 to 1,200 pounds), and adult females are smaller, normally weighing 150 to 295 kilograms (330 to 650 pounds). The largest polar bear ever recorded was a male weighing 2,209 pounds. An adult male may reach over 10 feet when standing on its hind legs.
- Polar Bears are designed to survive in the arctic climate, where winter temperatures can plunge to -45º C (-50º F). Polar bears are insulated by two layers of fur that help keep them warm. They also have a thick fat layer. In addition, their compact ears and small tail also prevent heat loss. In fact, polar bears have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold—especially when they run. Polar bear feet are furred and covered with small bumps called papillae to keep them from slipping on ice. Their sense of smell is powerful for detecting seals.
- New evidence suggests that the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, or the sea bear, started to evolve about five million years ago from brown bear ancestors.
While I did not find specific Happy International Polar Bear Day, Care2.com does have several Polar Bear e-cards (free) you can use to share the holiday.
Three Cheers for Polar Bears!!!
- All About Polar Bears (gabriellebell.com)
- Protecting Polar Bears (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Polar Bear Populations Drop: Researchers Debate Methods of Preservation (scienceworldreport.com)
- Conservation group works to save the polar bear (nj.com)
- International Polar Bear Day at the St.Petersburg Zoo (rbth.ru)