Polar bears are mostly found in the Arctic Circle, in places such as Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Russia. 60% of polar bears live in Canadian Territory. Polar bears need access to sea ice in order to hunt seals, which are their preferred prey. Their habitat, therefore, is restricted by the need to access the ocean and they may travel thousands of miles each year in order to find the right kind of sea ice for hunting.
One example is the town of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada. It is believed to be one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in their natural state. The town attracts many visitors who would like to see polar bears as they move back to their winter hunting territories in the months of October and November.
As temperatures warm, polar bear populations in the world are beginning to shrink as they are unable to find enough food to survive. While some scientists are hopeful that polar bears might adapt to the loss of sea ice, the change in climate may prove too rapid for long-term adjustment.
More about polar bears:
- As polar bears become more desperate to find food they tend to scavenge near human settlements and come into conflict with people.
- While polar bears and penguins are often depicted together in popular media, in reality they live at opposite ends of the Earth. Penguins are generally only found in the Southern Hemisphere.
- While polar bears may appear to be white or off-white, they actually have colorless, reflective fur and black skin.