Friday, August 3, 2007

No More Croissants for Cute Knut

Knut, the world's most famous polar bear, is off the scales after eating too many snacks and has been put on a diet. The Berlin Zoo said Knut's handlers have been told to stop feeding him extra rations of croissant, fish and meat.

Polar bear superstar Knut, whose celebrity has waned since he stopped being a cute cub, has been put on a diet because he is getting too fat, the Berlin Zoo announced on Tuesday.

"Knut has become noticeably round," zoo vet Andreas Ochs said. "So we shall be feeding him restrictively."

That means no more croissants and extra portions of fish and meat for the shaggy youngster, who turns eight months on August 5.

He is now believed to weigh around 60 kilograms but the zoo can't be sure exactly because its scales only go to 50 kilos.

Ochs said Knut's helpers will make sure he doesn't snatch any extra rations from the kitchen table or from baskets while he watches them prepare his dishes.

Being a few pounds overweight is common among zoo animals because they don't get to move around as much as in the wild. Berlin's lions and tigers are forced to fast for one or two days each week to prevent them getting too chubby.

"We can't do that with Knut because he's still growing," said Ochs.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Cute Knut Videos

Cute Knut is growing up. Oh - make that "grown" up. He's getting bigger by the day and some says he's not really cute any longer.

Seeing him grew up this big meant he survived. And we thank the Germans for the effort.

Here's more of Knut's videos on YouTube when he was still a baby...enjoy.








Sunday, July 8, 2007

Knut the Polar Bear Receives Millionth Visitor



Knut got his millionth visitor Thursday, a couple from Rotterdam who were delighted to see the star polar bear in the fur. But the days of the Knut show may be numbered, Thomas Dörflein reveals.

Berlin's celebrity polar bear baby Knut (more...) has attracted visitors by the thousands since he went on show to the public in March. Bear-lovers from all around the world have made the pilgrimage to see the no-longer-quite-so-little furball who has set the cash desks ringing at the Berlin Zoo. On Thursday the furry little scamp welcomed his millionth visitor -- but the milestone could also mark the beginning of the end of Knut's fame.

The lucky millionth visitors were a couple from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Ilja and Vincent Arends. They are here in Berlin on vacation -- and of course no visit to Berlin is complete these days without a trip to Knut's enclosure.

"It's our first time in Berlin and to get such an honor and a stroke of luck!" Vincent enthused. As a prize the couple, who had bought their entrance tickets on the stroke of noon, got a gift basket from the zoo, containing a soft toy version of Knut and other goodies.

As usual, Knut appeared completely unfazed by all the attention. The bear, who now weighs 42 kilos, played and wrestled with his loyal carer Thomas Dörflein, who has raised the bear by hand since he was born in December.

The Arends were delighted to see the little bear romp around in his enclosure. "Look at how he nibbles on Thomas' finger," Ilja told her husband. "We are really pleased that we saw him live," commented Vincent.

However Knut's glory days may already be behind him, even though he just turned seven months Thursday. Dörflein said in an interview with the daily Der Tagesspiegel published Thursday that Knut's public appearances with his trainer would soon be brought to an end. He told the paper that his boss, zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, had told him that "it will be the end of the Knut show in a few weeks." Visitors to the zoo have enjoyed watching Thomas and Knut play together in two hour-long shows each day since March. Soon, Knut will be on display just like any other bear at the zoo.

Tabloid Bild speculated that the Knut show might be cancelled as early as next week. The newspaper reported Thursday that the security staff who are currently responsible for crowd control will no longer be present as of this Sunday. The barriers which have been used to contain onlookers are also being dismantled. There has been a growing consensus in the past few weeks that Knut is no longer as cute as he was when he was small.

However, Dörflein said that he would still be together with Knut behind the scenes for a while yet. "For me there won't be any separation just yet," he told Der Tagesspiegel.

He said that his relationship with his girlfriend has survived the intensive few months looking after Knut. "We have even moved in together now," he said. He described the interest from his many female fans as "unbelievable," admitting that his desk was covered with "love letters from around the world with songs and poems."

Dörflein expressed a certain nostalgia for Knut's infancy, saying he liked to watch the videos of when Knut was younger. "You forget so much," he said.


The process of weaning Knut off his human step-father and encouraging him to be more independent is going well, Dörflein said. However he said that if Knut were to go and live with a female bear of the same age in another zoo in the future, then he would not go to visit him. "If he smelt my scent, it would cause him suffering," he said. "I wouldn't do that to him, or to myself."

He said that he would not want to raise another bear for the moment. "At the moment I'm burned out," he confessed. "I would do it again if I got my own apartment in the zoo. But there'll never be anything like Knut again."

dgs/dpa

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why Everbody Loves Cute Knut the Polar Bear

He waddles into view with the nonchalance of a rock star -- a foot-high fur ball who just makes everyone want to swoon.

Knut the polar bear cub is the Berlin zoo's newest and greatest attraction, pulling in 15,000 adoring German fans every day.

Andreas Ochs, a veterinarian at the zoo, is happily aghast at the attention lavished on the little bear. When asked why the cub causes such a stir, he said, "You know, you cannot declare it totally. It's like a pop star."

But Knut has gone way beyond pop stardom, as what began as a national story has quickly become an international sensation.

Superstar snapper Annie Leibowitz crowned Knut herself when she photographed the pint-size wonder for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

After the photo shoot, Knut collapsed on the spot for a well-earned nap, and Liebowitz said, "Goodnight Knut. Thank you for today. You're a superstar."

But what could have caused such a global ruckus? After all a bear, is a bear, is a bear, isn't it?

We decided to find out.

We got in touch with a guru of celebrity handling, David Hahn, CEO of Celebagents in London. Asked if he could shed any light on the Knut phenomenon, he chuckled and said, "Because he was rejected by the mother, it's the same feeling as being the loser. And people will always go with the underdog."

Ah ha, so maybe that's it? You see, Knut has not had the easiest childhood. First off his mother, Tosca, a traumatized behemoth rescued from a life as a circus performer, rejected Knut and his twin brother at birth.

Knut's brother, robbed of his mother's warmth, tragically succumbed to the chilly Berlin winter. Zoo vets stepped in quickly to save Knut from the same fate, deciding to raise him themselves rather than let him perish. A traumatic start to be sure, but his trials didn't end there.

Many animal rights advocates believe that the zoo authorities should have let the cub die, as is common in the wild when a mother rejects her young, rather than raise the cub within the confines of a zoo.

--ABC News
28 Apr 07

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Knut Keeps Cool, Naturally


New infrared images reveal that Knut is staying cool in the heat -- much to the relief of fans who worried the little furball might be overheating. Meanwhile his keeper Thomas Dörflein has been nominated for a medal for his services to Germany.

Despite recent high temperatures in Berlin, celebrity polar bear cub Knut isn't suffering from the heat. Even with temperatures reaching tropical highs of up to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), Berlin Zoo researcher Rudolf Reinhard told SPIEGEL ONLINE that Knut doesn't need help cooling off.

"He can go for a swim any time he likes," Reinhard says. "He's always at liberty to do so."


His swimming pool isn't chilled, and his cage isn't air-conditioned, Reinhard says. But could the heat be unhealthy for Knut, whose natural habitat is the sea ice of the polar north?

"Absolutely not," says Reinhard. "It's pretty warm in Canada right now as well, so this isn't too abnormal."

While northern Canada's summer temperatures certainly don't reach recent Berlin highs, Knut seems to be coping well. Reinhard says that polar bears regulate their body heat like dogs, sweating through their nose and mouth.

And new infrared photos of Knut indicate that this is working just fine. Even in the stifling heat, his body surface is only 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile his sweat gland areas around his nose, mouth, eyes and ears, are working hard to regulate his temperature -- those areas measure in at a sweltering 37.5 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

The infrared photographer, building physicist Thomas Zimmerman, was allowed to snap shots of the little bear because he's researching how baby animals regulate their body heat. Zimmerman told the tabloid Bild that Knut is "well insulated," and that the same polar bear insulation that retains heat in the winter works to insulate against it in the summer.

A Medal For Dörflein?

Meanwhile on Friday Bild -- ever attentive on the Knut beat -- reported that fans of Knut's keeper Thomas Dörflein have started an online petition for him to receive the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany -- the highest tribute German citizens can receive for services to the nation.

The fans are encouraging Federal President Horst Köhler to give Dörflein -- who has acquired quite a following of his own since becoming the bear's surrogate father -- the award. They have even contacted Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit -- a self-confessed Knut fan -- to add his endorsement. Wowereit's response was noncommittal, though -- his office said they preferred not to comment on who might get the medals.

kla

Friday, June 15, 2007

Threats natural and unnatural

The most immediate and topically recognized threats to the polar bear are the drastic changes taking place in their natural habitat, which is literally melting away due to global warming. The United States Geological Survey, for example, in November 2006, stated that the loss of sea ice in the Alaskan portion of the Beaufort Sea has lead to a higher death rate for polar bear cubs.

The Harvard University Gazette said:
A 1999 study of polar bears on Hudson Bay showed that rising temperatures are thinning the pack ice from which the bears hunt, driving them to shore weeks before they've caught enough food to get them through hibernation.

The BBC reported:

Climate change is threatening polar bears with starvation by shortening their hunting season, according to a study by scientists from the Canadian Wildlife Service.

There is also some concern over pollution in addition to the normal natural problems the bears might face. Reduced cub survival has been reported in connection with PCBs, as well as reports of organochlorines affecting the endocrine system and immune systems with lower immunoglobulin G seen with increasing PCB levels.

The lipophilic PCBs are considered a serious threat to marine mammals generally and to their food web, quickly concentrating into fat and blubber. These and related compounds are known in mammals (including humans) to cause such things as abortion, still births, alteration of the menstrual cycle, poor growth and survival of young, carcinogenicity, immunotoxicity, and even outright lethality. Other classes of organohalogens have been found in polar bears, such as PCDDs, PCDFs, TCPMe and TCPMeOH. Hermaphroditic polar bears have now been observed in less pristine areas. While some countries now ban some of these substances, they are still produced in others, and still end up all over the entire planet including the formerly pristine arctic. Even after the use of these chemicals is stopped, they continue to accumulate up the food chain, including in marine mammals and humans, for some time to come.

The bears sometimes have problems with various skin diseases with dermatitis caused sometimes by mites or other parasites. The bears are especially susceptible to Trichinella, a parasitic roundworm they contract by eating infected seals. Sometimes excess heavy metals have been observed, as well as ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning. Bears exposed to oil and petroleum products lose the insulative integrity of their coats, forcing metabolic rates to dramatically increase to maintain body heat in their challenging environment. Bacterial Leptospirosis, rabies and morbillivirus have been recorded. Interestingly, the bears are thought by some to be more resistant than other carnivores to viral disease. The pollutant effect on the bears' immune systems, however, may end up decreasing their ability to cope with the naturally present immunological threats it encounters, and in such a challenging habitat even minor weaknesses can lead to serious problems and quick death.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knut Chasing Ducks and Squirrels

Knut, Berlin Zoo's fast-growing star polar bear cub, isn't just biting his keeper, he has also been chasing ducks and squirrels and taking a disturbing interest in some of the zoo's cranes.

Polar bear cub celebrity Knut has been honing his hunting skills by chasing ducks and squirrels in Berlin Zoo but so far hasn't caught any thanks to the quick intervention of his handlers.

"Some ducks landed in the moat around his enclosure but he couldn't get to them because we got there first," the zoo's bear expert, Heiner Klös, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

"He's also been showing an interest in squirrels during his morning walks around the zoo." Each day before the zoo opens, Knut goes for a stroll past the cages and enclosures with his keeper Thomas Dörflein, who taught him how to swim last month.

Past strolls have brought him face-to-face -- separated by powerful glass -- with his mother Tosca, who rejected the cub at birth and would probably devour him if she could.

"He has also been interested in the cranes but they were behind a fence," said Klös.

The polar bear cub celebrity, now over 30 kilos (66 pounds), is gradually being weaned off his "mother" Dörflein who hand-reared him, and has been given his own rocky enclosure where he has to play on his own. "It's his new home and he's accepted it," said Klös.

But he still appears twice a day in a larger area where his many fans can see him frolick with Dörflein, the zoo said. Knut has outgrown the room were he spent his first six months being bottle-fed porridge, burped and baby-oiled by Dörflein.

Knut turned six months (more...) last week and has become markedly rougher in his playing with Dörflein, who is often seen wincing with pain when the cub bites him. But Klös said the zoo wasn't worried about Dörflein.

"He's still a little bear and he doesn't pose a threat," said Klös. "And we know his little ways." He said Knut would continue his twice-daily appearances with his various handlers for at least another two months, until the end of the summer season.

The zoo says Dörflein is likely to be safe playing with the fast-growing predator until he's about one year old -- in December this year -- when he will weigh between 60 and 80 kilos. But experts admit they can't be sure and say they will keep reassessing the situation.

Meanwhile, Wirtschaftswoche magazine reported that Knut is likely to boost the zoo's revenues by €5 million by the end of the year. Some 700,000 have piled into the zoo to see the cub since his first public appearance on March 23, and that figure is expected to reach 1 million by the end of the year.

That means the zoo is heading for record total visitor numbers of over 3 million this year, beating the previous record of 2.5 million set in 2006.

cro

Monday, June 4, 2007

Knut Celebrates Six Glorious Months

Knut turns half on June 5 after six glorious months for Berlin Zoo which has hand-reared the celebrity polar bear from a guinea pig-sized baby into a powerful 28-kilo fighter. He'll be spending the day munching fish and playfully biting his faithful keeper Thomas Dörflein. It's a friendship that can last six more months at most.




Knut turns six months on Tuesday, but Berlin Zoo isn't planning to mark the occasion with a gift-wrapped fish even though the celebrity polar bear cub has brought in hundreds of thousands of extra visitors this year.

"No presents," his keeper Thomas Dörflein told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "He gets so much to eat that he wouldn't even notice if he got anything special."

By the looks of him, Knut doesn't need extra rations. Under Dörflein's tireless round-the-clock care, Knut, rejected by his mother at birth, has ballooned to a chubby 28 kilos. That's three times heavier than when he stumbled into the global media limelight on March 23, the day of his first public appearance.

Tragically, his cuteness rating (more...) is declining steadily. The white ball of fur with innocent black button eyes that melted millions of hearts has turned into a shaggy yellow bruiser with a long snout. He's already got four of the 42 teeth that will one day turn him into one of the world's most fearsome land-based predators.

"One day he'll be big enough to kill a seal with a single swipe of his paw," said Raimund Opitz, announcing one of Knut's twice-daily appearances last week. Opitz said Knut was getting so big that the zoo will end the shows in two or three months and put him on constant display in his own enclosure.

Public interest in Knut remains strong but is gradually declining. He now gets 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a day, down from the tens of thousands who queued up to see him most days in March and April.

Days of friendship numbered

He won't be fully grown for another four years, when he will weigh half a ton or more, but zoo vet Andre Schüle estimates that Dörflein will only be able to play with him for another six months. He'll be a year old then and weigh between 60 to 80 kilos.

"Dörflein is an experienced keeper, he will realize when he's no longer needed," said Schüle. "At some point Knut will no longer want this close contact with a person. He's getting used to his role as a loner."

The keepers say the cub regards Dörflein as his mother and is unlikely to attack him, but admit they can't be sure.

Last week the two still appeared to be the best of friends. Knut followed Dörflein around the enclosure like a faithful pet dog, sucked the keeper's thumb, enjoyed being pulled around on a rug and swimming with him in the moat surrounding his enclosure.

"He's getting bigger and stronger and his playing is getting rougher, even though he doesn't mean any harm," said Schüle.

Dörflein winced with pain and shielded himself with his arms as Knut bit him playfully in the crotch and backside, and he has taken to covering his hands with his sleeves. His trousers are torn from countless sessions playing with the bear.

Asked if he was ever in pain, Dörflein said: "He's only playing. It feels like pin pricks. But it can really hurt when he gets angry."

Devoted care



Dörflein no longer has to spend his nights on a bed next to Knut's wooden cot because the cub is happy to sleep on his own now, said Schüle. For months, Dörflein gave Knut the attention of an adoring mother, bottle-feeding him porridge, patting his back to burp him and rubbing him in baby oil as a substitute for his mother's fatty saliva.

He pinned photos of Knut's parents, Tosca and Lars, on the inside of his cot, built him a hammock, risked the bear's wrath each day by shoving a thermometer up his bottom and patiently played football with him. Two weeks ago he taught him how to swim.

Despite this close attention, Schüle rejected an accusation from the director of Rotterdam's zoo (more...) that Knut was going to turn into a problem bear because he had too much contact with humans.

"We're not concerned about that at all. We had an experienced arctic photographer here who observed Knut and said he behaved just like polar bear cubs in the wild. Knut isn't going to be a problem," said Schüle.



The head of Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo, where gorilla Bokito escaped last month and injured a visitor before wrecking a restaurant, said Berlin zoo had brought the ape up badly and said it had pampered Knut so much that he too would become a troublemaker.

Bokito, now 180 kilos, was hand-reared in Berlin Zoo and moved to Blijdorp two years ago. "Bokito's just like any other gorilla, he's just very agile and sporty. He's not a problem ape, he's just big," said Schüle.

Bokito crossed a 3.5-meter ditch and vaulted an electric fence in Blijdorp. He also briefly escaped from his cage while at Berlin zoo, sending visitors racing for the exits while he played with a bicycle.


By David Crossland

Friday, May 25, 2007

Breeding

Although some local populations of polar bears have been shrinking, their total global population has been growing. Between the 1970s and 2007, the total global population of polar bears increased from 5,000 to 25,000. On the west coast of Hudson Bay in Canada, for example, there were an estimated 1200 polar bears in 1987, and 950 in 2007.

In February 2005 the environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity, with support from American senator Joe Lieberman, petitioned the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), part of the Department of the Interior to use the Endangered Species Act and list the bears as a threatened species.

Under United States law the FWS was required to respond to the petition within 90 days, but in October 2005 after no reply had been received the Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue the United States Government. On 14 December 2006 the Center for Biological Diversity along with Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit in California.

On December 27, 2006, the United States Department of the Interior in agreement with the three groups proposed that polar bears be added to the endangered species list, the first change of this type to be attributed to global warming. It will take up to a year to make the final determination. The Natural Resources Defense Council contends that though it is "a big step forward" the proposal fails to identify global warming pollution as the cause of rising Arctic temperatures and vanishing sea ice. In addition, it says the proposal offered by Dr. Rosa Meehan, Supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, does not designate any of the land discussed as the kind of habitat that is essential for the polar bear's survival as "critical habitat" that could help the bear recover.

The World Conservation Union had already given polar bears threatened status in May 2006.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Hunting, diet, and feeding

The polar bear is the most carnivorous member of the bear family, and the one that is most likely to prey on humans as food. It feeds mainly on seals, especially ringed seals that poke holes in the ice to breathe, but will eat anything it can kill: birds, rodents, shellfish,penguins,crabs, beluga whales, young walruses, occasionally musk oxen or reindeer, and very occasionally other polar bears. Still, reindeer and musk oxen can easily outrun a polar bear, and polar bears overheat quickly: thus the polar bear subsists almost entirely on live seals and walrus calves, or on the carcasses of dead adult walruses or whales. They are enormously powerful predators, but they rarely kill adult walruses, which are twice the polar bear's weight, although this has been known to happen. Humans and larger bears of their own species are the only predators of polar bears.

As a carnivore which feeds largely upon fish-eating carnivores, the polar bear ingests large amounts of vitamin A, which is stored in their livers; in the past, humans have been poisoned by eating the livers of polar bears. Though mostly carnivorous, they sometimes eat berries, roots, and kelp in the late summer.


Polar bears are excellent swimmers and have been seen in open Arctic waters as far as 60 miles from land. In some cases they spend half their time on ice floes. Their 12 cm (5 in) layer of fat adds buoyancy in addition to insulating them from the cold. Recently, polar bears in the Arctic have undertaken longer than usual swims to find prey, resulting in four recorded drownings in the unusually large ice pack regression of 2005.

Polar bears are enormous, aggressive, curious, and potentially dangerous to humans. Wild polar bears, unlike most other bears, are barely habituated to people and will quickly size up any animal they encounter as potential prey.

Like other bear species, they have developed a liking for garbage as a result of human encroachment. For example, the dump in Churchill, Manitoba is frequently scavenged by polar bears, who have been observed eating, among other things, grease and motor oil.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Natural range

Though it spends time on land and ice, the polar bear is regarded as a marine mammal due to its intimate relationship with the sea. The circumpolar species is found in and around the Arctic Ocean, its southern range limited by pack ice. Their southernmost point is James Bay in Canada. While their numbers thin north of 88 degrees, there is evidence of polar bears all the way across the Arctic. Population is estimated to be between 20,000 to 25,000.

The main population centers are:

Wrangell Island and western Alaska
Northern Alaska
Canadian Arctic archipelago
Greenland
Svalbard-Franz Josef Land
North-Central Siberia

Their range is limited by the availability of that sea ice they use as a platform for hunting seals, the mainstay of their diet. The destruction of its habitat on the Arctic ice threatens the bear's survival as a species; it may become functionally extinct within the century. Signs of this have already been observed at the southern edges of its range.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

EVOLUTION: Subspecies and populations

Many sources list no polar bear subspecies, while others list two - Ursus maritimus maritimus and Ursus maritimus marinus. The number of populations varies depending upon who is counting. The IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), the pre-eminent international scientific body for research and management of polar bears, recognizes twenty populations, or stocks, worldwide. Other scientists recognize six distinct populations.

Canadian Arctic archipelago

Greenland

Spitzbergen-Franz Josef Land

Central Siberia

Monday, March 5, 2007

EVOLUTION: Speculation

The raccoon and bear families are believed to have diverged about 30 million years ago. The spectacled bear split from other bears around 13 million years ago. The six distinct ursine species originated some 6 million years ago. According to both fossil and DNA evidence, the polar bear diverged from the brown bear roughly 200 thousand years ago; fossils show that between 10 and 20 thousand years ago the polar bear's molar teeth changed significantly from those of the brown bear.

Polar bears have, however, bred with brown bears to produce fertile grizzly–polar bear hybrids, suggesting that the two are close relatives. But neither species can survive long in the other's niche, and with distinctly different morphology, metabolism, social and feeding behaviors, and other phenotypic characters, the two bears are generally classified as separate species.

In a widely cited paper published in 1996, a comparison of the DNA of various brown bear populations showed that the brown bears of Alaska's ABC islands shared a more recent common ancestor with polar bears than with any other brown bear population in the world.[11] Also to see how the bear species once split yet are still connected, polar bears still have HIT (hibernation induction trigger) in their blood, but do not now utilize this to hibernate as the brown bear does. They may occasionally enter a dormant state referred to as "denning" (pregnant females in particular), though their body temperature does not decrease during this period as it would for a typical mammal in hibernation.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fur and skin

A polar bear's fur is white (individual hairs are transparent like the water droplets that make up a cloud) and provides good camouflage and insulation. It may yellow with age. The fur acts as miniature greenhouses, and turns sunlight into heat, which is absorbed by the bear's black skin. Stiff hairs on the pads of its paws provide insulation and traction on ice.

Unlike other Arctic mammals, polar bears do not shed their coat for a darker shade in the summer. It was once conjectured that the hollow hairs of a polar bear coat acted as fiber-optic tubes to conduct light to its black skin, where it could be absorbed - a theory disproved by recent studies.[7] The thick undercoat does, however, insulate the bears: they overheat at temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F), and are nearly invisible under infrared photography; only their breath and muzzles can be easily seen.[8] When kept in captivity in warm, humid conditions, it is not unknown for the fur to turn a pale shade of green. This is due to algae growing in the guard hairs - in unusually warm conditions, the hollow tubes provide an excellent home for algae. Whilst the algae is harmless to the bears, it is often a worry to the zoos housing them, and affected animals are sometimes washed in a salt solution, or mild peroxide bleach to make the fur white again.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Size and weight

Polar bears rank with the Kodiak bear as among the largest living land carnivores, and male polar bears may weigh twice as much as a Siberian tiger. Most adult males weigh 300-600 kg (660-1320 lbs) and measure 2.4-3.0 m (7.9-10.0 ft) in length. When standing upright, an adult male can stand up to 3.35m (11.5 feet). Adult females are roughly half the size of males and normally weigh 150-300 kg (330-660 lbs), measuring 1.9-2.1 m (6.25-7 ft). At birth, cubs weigh only 600-700g or about a pound and a half.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Polar Bear

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), a bear native to the Arctic, is the apex predator within its range. Its thick blubber and fur insulate it against the cold. Its fur is hollow and translucent but usually appears as white or cream coloured, thus providing the animal with effective camouflage. Its skin is actually black in color, however.[2] The bear has a short tail and small ears that help reduce heat loss, as well as a relatively small head and long, tapered body to streamline it for swimming. The polar bear is a semi-aquatic marine mammal that depends mainly upon the pack ice and the marine food web for survival. It has adapted for life on a combination of land, sea, and ice.

Scientists and climatologists believe that the projected decreases in the polar sea ice due to global warming will have a significant negative impact on of this species within this century

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hej!

For Polar Bears and everythin about them.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Entertainment and commerce

Polar bears have been made both controversial and famous for their distinctive white fur and their habitat. Companies like Coca-Cola, Polar Beverages, Nelvana, Bundaberg Rum and Good Humor-Breyers have used images of this bear in logos. The first has consistently displayed the bears as thriving near penguins, though the animals naturally live in opposite hemispheres. The Canadian 2-dollar coin (right) features the image of a polar bear. The panserbjørne of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials are polar bears with human-level intelligence. The TV series Lost has featured polar bears on a mysterious tropical island where they are portrayed as fearsome beasts.

Also was choosen like mascot for the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Canada.