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About This GigaPanToggle
- Taken by
- Ella Derbyshire
- Explore score
- 0.13 Gigapixels
- Date added
- August 07, 2008
- Date taken
- July 22, 2008
Early on a July morning these amazing animals lumbered out of the fog on the starboard side of the I/B 50 Years of Victory. The bears didn't pay much attention to us or to our ship. Momma Bear did look briefly in our direction when her arrival was announced on our intercom. Apparently satisfied that her family was safe, they resumed their slow walk across our bow, and they finally disappeared into the fog on our port side.
Polar Bears are an endangered species. Their fur is valued for its warmth and translucent white appearance. Russian laws forbid the hunting of Polar Bears. Alas, the United States does allow Polar Bear hunting. The mother and her cubs would be in particular danger in some parts of Alaska.
The environment is also stressing Polar Bear populations. Polar bears live on the thick Arctic ice. In the far north, seals are preferred Polar Bear food as they pop up out of breathing holes in the ice. It is an energy-efficient way for Polar Bears hunt. With warming of the seas, receding sea ice will change this way of hunting, driving changes in bear behavior or possibly contributing to the loss of the world's Polar Bears.
See how many Polar Bears you can find here. This panorama, taken in late July, has a variety of ice shapes to admire, as well as melt pools and the fracture lines in the ice that were made by the ice breaker.
Please take some extra time to admire the cold emptiness of the High Arctic. And maybe wonder at the lives of these beautiful creatures and maybe even consider what the world would be like without sea ice and Polar Bears.