The polar bear is the largest liv­ing land car­ni­vore in the world today, with adult males grow­ing up to 2.6 meters in length. The most well known of all bears, the polar bear is imme­di­ately recog­nis­able from the dis­tinc­tive white colour of its thick fur. A polar bear is so well insu­lated that its body heat is vir­tu­ally invis­i­ble to a heat sen­sor. The only unfurred parts of the body are the foot pads and the tip of its nose, which are black, reveal­ing the dark colour of the skin under­neath the pelt. The neck of the polar bear is longer than in other species of bears, and the elon­gated head has small ears. Polar bears have large strong limbs and huge forepaws which are used as pad­dles for swim­ming. The toes are not webbed, but are excel­lent for walk­ing on snow as they bear non-​retractable claws which dig into the snow like ice-​picks. The soles of the feet also have small pro­jec­tions and indents which act like suc­tion cups and help this bear to walk on ice with­out slip­ping. Females are about half the size of males.

Polar bears feed pri­mar­ily on ringed seals. Bearded seals are taken less often than ringed seals, but are impor­tant prey items. Polar bears also eat harp seals and hooded seals, and they scav­enge on car­casses of cari­bou, musk-​oxen, whale, wal­rus (usu­ally pups) and seal. They occa­sion­ally eat mam­mals such as Sval­bard rein­deer and lem­mings, as well as birds, eggs, lichens, moss, berries, grass and kelp.

Polar bear in Copenhagen Zoo

Pop­u­la­tion size & trend

Esti­mated pop­u­la­tion size:Esti­mated pop­u­la­tion size: 20,00025,000


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Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.


about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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