Species Spotlight: Polar Bear

 Portrait of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Svalbard, Norway.

Questions and Answers

How much time do polar bears spend hunting?
Polar bears spend over 50% of their time hunting for food. They store up energy when sea ice and food are plentiful so that when food sources are scarce (usually during the summer and autumn), they can survive on fat reserves.

Why do polar bears need sea ice?
Polar bears rely heavily on sea ice for traveling, hunting, resting, mating and, in some areas, maternal dens. But they are losing their sea ice habitat because of a warming climate—the primary threat to polar bears throughout the Arctic.

What does the polar bear’s scientific name mean?
Their scientific name means ‘sea bear’. Polar bears are the planet’s biggest land-based carnivores – although they spend most of their lives around water and ice. 


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