Recently, MatadorU Director of Filmmaking, Scott Sporleder, went on a polar bear tundra adventure in Canada. The following images were all taken on the same trip that is being given away for the 2012 Explore the Canadian Arctic Competition. Deadline for the contest is midnight PST on November 23rd, 2012.
"Only the nose and eyes radiate heat, so they cover them with their paws when they sleep." 1
"Polar bears enter a state of walking hibernation where their metabolism slows. Only pregnant polar bears enter a den, give birth, and emerge three months later." 2
"It has long been a myth that all Polar Bears are left handed. Scientists don’t back up this claim yet it seems to be one of those issues about these bears that won’t go away. They use both of their claws to dig with and both of their hands to capture prey with. They aren’t partial to using either the right or the left as humans are." 3
"Even though a polar bear's fur looks white it is actually colorless and is made with hollow tubes that scatter light and give a white appearance." 10
"Polar bears can reach speeds up to 40 kph (25 mph) on land and 10 kph (6 mph) in water." 11
"An adult bear usually eats one seal every six or seven days." 12
"Polar Bears give birth to their young on land, but then they spend most of their time in the water. Most people assume that they are mainly land animals but that isn’t true. It is due to the fact that they spend so much time in the water that they are classified as marine mammals." 13
"At birth, polar bear cubs are 12 to 14 inches long and weigh around one pound." 16
"Ringed seals are their preferred prey, but in winter, they will eat anything they can catch. In summer, they eat leaves, berries and seaweed." 17
"Polar bears are made for the cold. Their hairs are hollow, making for excellent insulation that is capable of trapping much of their body heat." 18
Polar bears' downfall?
"This adaptation to freezing temperatures may be the polar bear's downfall at this time of global warming. As the earth heats up due to human-created greenhouse gases, the ice has begun to melt, putting the existence of the polar bear in jeopardy." 19
"Polar Bears are solitary animals other than when they are ready to mate." 20
Ability to fast
"They are able to fast for several months at a time during the colder part of the year when food is scarce. This is a natural ability that they can put into motion when they need to for survival." 21
Largest carnivore on land
"Polar bears are the largest carnivores in the world that reside on land. They also are one of the largest land predators in the world, sharing that top spot with the Kodiak Bear." 22
"Less than 2% of a polar bear’s hunts are successful - despite their reputation as fearsome hunters (they’re the most carnivorous of the bear family), they expend a lot of energy in the process. And all that time and energy spent finding food will only increase as Arctic sea ice disappears and their prey (mostly seals) become harder to find." 23
Furry all over
"The polar bear's entire body is furred, even the bottom of its paws." 24
"The average age of a polar bear in the wild is 17 years." 25
Where are the polar bears?
"Polar bears can be found in the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland and on the Arctic islands of Norway." 26
"Polar bears like to keep themselves clean - probably because it helps the insulating properties of their fur. After feeding they’ll usually wash by taking a swim or rolling in the snow. They also roll in the snow to cool off." 27
"Polar bears fur is oily and water repellant...allowing them to shake dry after swimming." 28
"There are 19 different types of Polar Bears that have been identified and categorized by researchers. Right now 5 of those species are categorized as vulnerable due to the decline of their overall numbers." 29
"Polar Bears evolved from the Brown Bear more than 38 million years ago." 30
"The semiaquatic polar bear was once considered to be nomadic, but has since been shown to have a very large home range — up to about 115 square miles." 31
Since graduating from San Diego State University, Scott has dedicated 3 months a year to travel and photographing the world's unique cultures. While not on the road, you can visit Scott every summer at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. You can also view his travel photography at ScottSporleder.com.