Polar Bear by Bandita Kafle
A close relative of the brown bear, the polar bear is now classified as a separate genus. Yet polar bears can hybridize with brown bear in zoos, and the female by hybrids are fertile.
Found on ice floes and near coastal waters in far northern re gions of the world, polar bears are protected from the cold by a thick layer of fat 2 to 4 inches. In the coldest water they curl up like sled dogs, with their backs against the wind or burrow in the snow. Adult polar pear’s weight is in average of 800 pounds. There they forage on rodents, carrion and other types of bird but they don’t like mammals. In summer the melting point rises and they lose their weight in this season.
Patient hunters polar bears often wait for an hours near breathing holes, where ringed seals surface. They also stalk seals that bask on the ice. Their noses are sensitive enough the sniff seal dens covered by 3 feet of ice and snow. Their broad wide feet measuring up to 12 inches long provide traction as they walk on thin ice.
Polar bears are the most aquatic of all bears. Sometimes they dive to the ocean floor from mussels and kelp. When they plunge into water, their cars flatten, their nostrils close and thin transparent eye lids cover their eyeballs. They use their back feet for steering and their front swimming 20 miles or more of shore.
In Oct. or Nov. pregnant polar bear digs a den in a snowback. The den consists of a tunnel leading the one or more oval chambers about I feet in dam. The packed snow traps provide the mother heat and effective insulation in the middle of the arctic winter. The cubs are born about nine months. After birth, they follow their mother every where and even ride on her back when she swims.
First Published in साधना वार्षिक मुखपत्र in 2059 BS