Save the Polar Bears | Emmett's Wildlife Initiative
International Polar Bear Day is celebrated all around the world every year on February 27th! The main purpose of this observance is to draw awareness to the challenges polar bears face in the ever-warming Arctic Circle. That's why, for the entire month of February, Emmett and I will be raising money for Polar Bears International.
Polar Bears International
International Polar Bear Day is organized by Polar Bears International (PBI) - a worldwide non-profit organization dedicated to both the preservation of the Arctic climate and Arctic wildlife.
Last month, I reached out to Betsy Jasper, the Member Services Coordinator at PBI, to confirm details about making a donation. She and Emily (their marketing manager) were prompt and delightful in their responses. Betsy let me know I was welcome to use the information and imagery on their website for our homeschool lessons as well. Now, I invite you to join us in learning a little bit more about these beautiful creatures and why is it so important to keep them a part of our life journey.
Amazing Facts About Polar Bears
Polar bears have many physical characteristics that allow them to survive in one of the harshest environments on our planet. They are exposed to the coldest average temperatures year round. Summers in the arctic circle reach just above freezing and winters can see temperatures plunge as low as -50° Fahrenheit!
Fur Like Snow
Polar bears may look like they have thick white fur, but we wouldn’t hold it against you if you’re fooled. Like the snow and ice in their environment, polar bear fur is technically translucent, which reflects the sun rays and cold of the Arctic off their bodies. Another interesting fact, the skin beneath their fur is actually black. These two characteristics help keep polar bears warm when on land.
One of Earth's largest Living Carnivores
When an adult polar bear stands on its hind legs, it can measure over 3 meters tall. That is about 10 feet. However, scientist typically measure polar bears by their shoulder height while standing on all four legs. So most polar bear height measurements will be less than 5 feet.
The average weight of polar bears can vary greatly. Male polar bears, for example, can weigh 350kg (775lbs) to 600kg (1300lbs) or even more. Female polar bears are smaller by almost half at 150kg (330lbs) to 295kg (650lbs)
To put it into perspective, we divided the weight of a smaller male polar bear, by Emmett's weight. It would take more that 15 Emmetts to weigh as much as the polar bear.
Even though they spend most of the time on the ice, polar bears are able to swim 100km off-shore at speeds of up to 10km/h, impressive for an animal of their size. Their sense of smell is also extremely precise; they can smell a seal from more than 1km away.
Polar bears feed mainly on ringed seals. They hunt on the ice by simply waiting at the holes the seals themselves made as air supply. They also travel long distances in groups to find and eat walrus, beluga whale, and bowhead whale carcasses - which goes to show that they are effective scavengers as much as they are effective predators.
Even though they travel long distances to find food, we are sure that they have plenty of fun along the way. A group of polar bears wouldn’t be called a celebration for no reason, after all!
These bears are completely amazing, and it is sad to see that they are classified as a vulnerable species, close to becoming endangered. This is because climate change is currently their biggest threat to survival. Various forms of pollution and contamination are raising the water temperatures which causes the ice they rely upon to melt away.
Wildlife Initiative for Polar Bears
Although the population of polar bears is stable, their habitat is decreasing drastically. Many people do not realize how important it is to be kind to the environment and, as a result, kind to the species that live in it. It's up to us to implement change. With a little effort, these changes can become a lifestyle - small things such as driving less and turning down the thermostat can be a huge help. Here are several ways you can help save Polar Bears and their home today:
- Shop at Emmett's Expeditions any day this month. For every product sold in the store, I'll be donating $1 to Polar Bears International. Learn more on Emmett's Wildlife Initiative page.
- Thermostat Challenge - adjust your thermostat by a couple degrees. You'll waste less energy and reduce greenhouse gases.
- Power Down Challenge - turn off and unplug devices that are not in use. For every kilowatt you save, you'll be reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
- Pedal for Polar Bears Challenge - not only is bike riding fun, it's a great way to cut back on carbon pollution from cars. Even better, have a Pedal for Polar Bears event! "Ride with your friends to school or work, or create teams for a competition. You’ll help polar bears at the same time!"
- Donate to Polar Bears International. PBI is a fantastic organization doing positively incredible work for polar bears and their habitats. Sending a donation will greatly help PBI continue their mission.
No matter where you are, you can help to turn this around. Be a part of International Polar Bear Day and help us ensure that these creatures can live longer, healthier lives in this fragile, far-flung corner of the world.
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