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Sirmilik National Park of Canada

Learn More About Polar Bears

Polar bears are the largest land carnivore in North America. An adult male typically weighs 300-450 kg, stretching 3 metres from nose to tail. They are strong, fast, agile, on land or ice, and are expert swimmers and divers. Their sense of smell is exceptional, their eyesight comparable to a human's. Polar bears are naturally curious, not fearless as they have been labelled. They are shy and prefer to avoid confrontations with humans and other polar bears. Their primary prey is the ringed seal but they will also prey on birds, eggs, small mammals, and even humans. They also scavenge anything from beached whales to human garbage. In the heat of summer, polar bears may appear slow and docile, but they are capable of moving swiftly and with purpose.

Suggested Readings:

Bromley, Marianne. 1996. Safety in Polar Bear Country. Northwest Territories Renewable Resources, Yellowknife. 24 pp.

Canadian Wildlife Service. Hinterland Who's Who

Stirling, I. 1988. Polar Bears. University of Michigan Press. Available in soft cover from Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Markam, ON. 220 pp.