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Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cub coming out den, Wapusk national park, Canada.

Polar Bears: The Largest Land Carnivores in the World

Polar bears are a species of bear that lives in the Arctic sea ice. They are considered to be the largest land carnivores in the world only compared by their cousins, the Kodiak brown bears that live in the southern regions of Alaska. In the arctic, polar bears are at the very top of the food chain and make a very important part of the ecosystem.

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They have a white coat of fur that is waterproof and it is thicker than the fur of any other species of bear in the world. They have a thick layer of blubber underneath their fur provides them an ample amount of insulation that they need for the cold Arctic climate and it also gives them the buoyancy they need to be able to swim in the cold waters.

Polar bears are unique in the sense that they are classified as marine animals. The reason for that classification is that they spend most of their time on the sea ice in the arctic. They have a narrow skull and a long neck which helps to streamline their body.

They are adept swimmers that make use of their front paws to paddle while their hind legs are held flat so that they act as rudders. They can maintain a steady speed of 6 miles per hour. They are strong swimmers known to have been seen as far as 200 miles from the land but they prefer not to swim that far because they need to conserve their energy.

Their diet mainly consists of seals because they rely on eating their rich fats in order to survive. The remains of the seals that they do not eat contribute to the diet of a diverse range of other animals that live in the Arctic. This is why they play an important part of the ecosystem.

Polar bear mother (Ursus maritimus) with two cubs, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada

Polar bears are actually hunting 50 percent of their entire lives. They are only able to catch one or two out of every ten seals that they hunt which makes it imperative for them to constantly be on the hunt.

The change in the climate has seen a lot of their habitat destroyed and their numbers have been dwindling due to the melting Arctic ice. They have been classified as a threatened species since the May of 2008.

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