Seasonal Hunting Time!
The polar bears have migrated to begin their seasonal hunt. The temperatures have dropped and their pathway to open water (and prime seal hunting grounds) has opened.
During this time of year, enjoy some highlights from the season in video clips.
Each summer, polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba come ashore after the sea ice melts in Western Hudson Bay. These bears have no food source and enter a state called walking hibernation. The bears fast until they can hunt for seals when the sea ice forms again in late fall.
Polar bears are adapted for life on the sea ice. In the High Arctic, the sun sets in October and doesn't rise again until late February. Winter temperatures often plunge to -40° or -50° F and stay that way for days or weeks.
Polar bears don’t hibernate. Most remain on the sea ice all winter long to hunt seals. They have the ability to reduce their metabolic rate when food is scarce.
In the fall, pregnant polar bears den after feeding heavily in August and September. They remain in the dens for four to eight months. During that time, they must live off their fat reserves. A mother polar bear gives birth to one, two, or three cubs in November or December. Twins are most common.
The main threat to polar bears is loss of their sea ice habitat due to climate change. Without sea ice, polar bears can't reach their prey. Less time on the sea ice means less time to hunt. As the ice-free season gets longer and longer polar bears are forced to test the limits of their fat reserves.
How do Polar Bears respond to seasonal change? The images and video captured during the fall season are your springboard to research and discovery.