Mrs. Polar Bear

Dear Mrs Polar Bear,
An open letter.
You puzzle and amaze me. Just when all the other hungry bears are moving onto the ice to stalk seals you are heading into a den for eight months. The timing couldn’t be worse in my opinion. How are you going to feed the cubs who will be born during your confinement? And I understand you aren’t technically hibernating. Then just when seal hunting is almost over you reappear with a couple of cubs and expect to feed all three of you plus build up your reserves of fat. If you can do this you must be the best converter of food to fat in nature. But then I heard something about you the other day that left me so confused I had to write you personally. Let me set the scene.

As top polar bear scientists in Canada talked with Aloha High School students and Fir Grove Elementary School fifth-graders via live Internet link up, one of the threatened species walked by – all 800 pounds of him.

On Friday, students from both of the schools got a chance to chat with three experts who were broadcasting aboard a Tundra Buggy stationed in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, known as “The Polar Bear Capital of the World.”

One student asked if polar bears could adapt to living on land.

Asked how long polar bears could live on a terrestrial diet if forced off the ice, Amstrup said the bears would have to adapt on land like grizzlies.

But, because they are the largest of all bears, they need a “very rich and abundant food source.” As a result, they can not process such food as blueberries and grasses fast enough to keep their body masses.

This really puzzled me because it makes you sound so gastrointestinally challenged compared to other bears. Then I remembered what the polar bear biologist for Nunavut had said.

(Mitch) Taylor says he’s seen bears so full of blueberries they waddle.

So you see, Mrs Polar Bear, how the scientists seem to be of two opinions. That’s why I am asking you directly. I hope you read this before you head into your den and can reply soon to this blog.




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