1. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
2. In the summer, the sun does not set on Svalbard for 4 months!
3. Polar bears have black skin and, although their fur appears white, it is actually transparent.
4. They also have built-in socks. The stiff fur on the sole of each foot keeps polar bears from slipping on ice, and also muffles the sound of a bear’s approach when sneaking up on a meal.
5. The Arctic fox has the warmest pelt of any animal found in the Arctic, enduring temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius.
6. Svalbard is considered a desert due to its low air humidity.
7. The scientific name for a walrus is Odobenus Rosmarus, which is Latin for “tooth-walking sea-horse.”
8. Polar bears have been known to swim more than 200 kilometers without rest in search for food. Unfortunately, that distance is increasing due to climate change.
9. Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate the global climate.
10. The largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is called Spitsbergen, which means “rugged mountains.” It’s easy to see why when you sail up the west coast of Svalbard.
11. When the walrus became a protected species in 1952, there were only about 50 animals left in Svalbard. Today, there are at least 3,800.
12. Svalbard has a population of only 2,700 people. There are two main “cities”: Longyearbyen which is under Norwegian control and Barentsburg, in the photo, which is Russian.
13. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on planet Earth and can be seen in Svalbard.
14. A blue whale can fill its mouth with 70,000 liters when feeding. It takes a blue whale 90 seconds to empty the water again.
15. In Svalbard, as much as 60% of the landmass is covered in ice, and less than 10% has any vegetation.
16. The diet of an Arctic fox consists of lemmings, voles, seabirds and their eggs, seal pups, and fish. They also consume the leftovers of polar bears’ meals.
17. The Arctic tern migrates 70,000 kilometers from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and back again, every year!
18. Walruses can sleep for 5 days before they go out feeding.
19. Each year, 6 million birds migrate to Svalbard to breed.
20. Svalbard’s main source of income is tourism. Polar bears are the main attraction for those visiting the archipelago. If you are interested in a photo tour, WildPhoto Travel will take you on amazing expeditions.
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