Newsletter Archive

February of for the Polar Bear Express

On February 27th we recognize Polar Bear day.  This has been observed since 2011 and was started by Polar Bears International to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear.  Coca-Cola helped polar bears capture our hearts. The relationship actually began with a french Coca-Cola ad in 1922.  It's scientific name is Ursus maritimus, which means "sea bear".  They are classified as marine mammals.  It lives in the Arctic and it's life is tied to sea ice.  The word arctic comes from the Greek word for "bear".  DNA from a polar bear jawbone has revealed the arctic species first originated about 150,000 year ago.

The polar bear is at the top of the food chain, has no predators and is the largest carnivore that lives on land.  When it stands on its hind legs the bear reaches a height of 7 feet 10 inches to 9 feet 10 inches.  The males weigh in at 1500 pounds while the females average 750 pounds.  They are kept warm by 10 cm of blubber.  Their skin is black,  which will absorb the suns rays.  It appears to have white fur, but the fur is actually transparent and reflects visible light.  The fur can turn yellow with age.  They can be seen having a "snow bath", where they rub and roll on the snow.  Cleaning their fur is key to insulation.  Their paws measure up to 11.81 inches across.  This helps with traversing thin ice.  They extend their legs far apart and lower their bodies to distribute their weight.  Black pads on the bottom of the paw are covered with small, soft bumps called papillae, which grip the ice.  Tufts of fur between its toes and foot pads also help to keep them from slipping.  They can kill any animal with just one swipe of its paw. These large paws also act as paddles when they are swimming, while the rear paws are held flat and work as rudders.  They have been recorded to regularly swim 30 miles and in one case, 220 miles. They swim up to 6 mph, walk at 3.4 mph and run as fast as 25 mph.Their eyes have  nictitating membranes, or third eyelids, that allows them to see underwater and spot potential meals 15 feet away.  It also protects the eye in blowing snow.

Their gestation period is from 195 to 265 days.  The pregnant females live in snow caves and give birth in December.  In the first year the cubs are called "COYS", cubs of the year. Occasionally they inter-breed with grizzly bears creating a hybrid bear known as a "prizzy" bear or "grolar bear. This was confirmed in 2006 following a DNA testing of a strange looking bear which has been shot

They have an excellent sense of smell.  They can sniff out their prey from up to 20 miles away.  They can also smell a seal's breathing hole from up to a mile away.  They will camp out at the hole and wait for their favorite dinner to arrive!  They can also smell a seal as deep as 3 feet below the compacted snow.  Nose touching is a way of asking for permission to share a kill.

About 30,000 bears exist  They can live up to 20 to 30 years in the wild, but usually it's 15 to 18 years.  In captivity they can live up to 45 years of age.

We give you "Testing The Air."  

We captured this bear in the Svalbard Archipelago, 600 miles south of the North Pole above Norway.  He was checking us out!  Fortunately we were at a safe distance so we did not become his dinner.

"Sea Bear" is another example of being "checked out".  Smell and sight was being used with great interest!

 These images are available in table top to wall size, triple matted and with or without a frame.  The matted versions are yours at a 10% discount and the framed matted versions in sizes 11x14 and larger can be yours at a 15% discount.

Visit our website, for available sizes and prices.

Stop by and see us on Monday through Friday from 10a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30p.m. to 5p.m.

The gallery is open for arranged Saturday appointments.  Call us at 904-387-8710 to schedule your special visit.  Come see us and order now.


"I don't know where this Arctic wind has come from but it's freezing"

              ---  Alan Green