The distinctive profiles of polar bears are easily recognized by children and adults all over the world, and yet they live farther from population centers than almost any other creature. They inhabit the inhospitable Arctic regions of a small number of countries.
And polar bears are major attractions in zoos around the world — they are big, noble, and undeniably cute.
Polar bears are extraordinarily well adapted to their harsh environments. While their fur looks white, it is actually transparent, which helps the bears blend in with their snowy surroundings. In what might come as a surprise to casual observers, polar bears also have black skin underneath their fur that helps soak up the sun’s warmth. As a result, they can survive in temperatures that would quickly kill other animals.
Yet, polar bears are vulnerable to climate change, as rising temperatures cause sea ice to form later each year and melt earlier, resulting in a loss of habitat and less time for hunting for food. These are problems many other species face as well — these are the animals likely to go extinct due to climate change.
To bring attention to the issues these magnificent beasts face, conservationists in recent years have celebrated Feb. 27 as International Polar Bear Day. To mark the occasion, and to do our bit to raise awareness, 24/7 Tempo has compiled 25 facts about polar bears that just might surprise you.