Mrs. Polar Bear letter #3

Deer Mrs. Polar Bear
I hadn’t heard from you so I decided to do some research on my own. It all started when I was reading a news report that mentioned "summer starved polar bears". This got me wondering all over again. Actually the report was mostly about your close relative the Grizzly bear. You know all about being visited by tourists and now the Grizzlies are getting visitors too.

Five people clamber into a flat-bottomed aluminum boat, which Jasmine, in gumboots, then hauls to the opposite bank. The shallow water teems with spawning pink salmon. She returns and ferries the rest of our group across. Armed to our Gore-Tex hoods with high-end camera gear, digital video equipment and lenses the size of bazookas, we ascend a wooden ladder through the evergreen canopy and into a two-storey tree fort. Everyone jockeys for the best vantage. And then we wait.

Our group includes a 30-something couple from Australia, a pair of garrulous American retirees and a family of Brits with plummy accents and matching blond sons. All have paid several thousand dollars to travel to Glendale Cove, 250 kilometres northwest of Vancouver as the eagle flies, and stay in a floating resort anchored in the shadows of British Columbia’s steep-faced Coast Mountains. They’re not here for the scenery, however spectacular.

A rustling in the undergrowth cuts short our chit-chat. Something large and hungry is slouching through the bush toward our viewfinders: a grizzly bear, three or four years old. As the young bear emerges and ambles across a clearing towards us, our shutters go off like paparazzi at a Britney Spears booze-up. Even the most bored British lad glances up from his Game Boy. "Daddy," he asks nervously, "can it climb up here?"   source:

It’s probably fascinating watching grizzlies catch salmon but I think you polar bears put on a better show. With nothing to do but hang out you wander over to the Tundra Buggies and thrill the humans. Getting back to our original question about "summer starved bears", I quess we can assume that prior to gathering on the shores of Hudson bay you spend the summer partly on the ice floes and partly inland.

I spent some time researching on the Sea World site. (You are designated as a marine mammel) I found that after you mate in the spring (April-May) "The fertilized egg divides into a hollow ball of cells one layer thick (a blastocyst),then stops growing and lies free-floating in the uterus for about four months. The blastula then implants in the uterine wall and continues to develop".  This "delayed implantation" is so that you can build up enough body fat to proceed with the rest of the pregnancy. How much body fat must you add? 400+lbs. How do become "summer starved" when you are adding 400 lbs. of body fat? You have to double you body weght over the summer to proceed with your prgnancy.  source:

Then I did some research at a Greenpeace site. They talked about female bears going into dens " after gorging themselves in August and September." I would guess that this gorging would lead to increased fat rather than "summer starved bears".   source:

I have a suggestion for you Mrs. Polar Bear. When the seals haven’t provided you with 400 lbs of body fat you can do what your close relative the grizzly does:"Usually in early August, bears start to shift their diet to berries. At this time, some grizzly bears have been known to eat more than 200,000 berries in one day." source:

Next post is on the berries of the Tundra.

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