Did you know there is an international polar bear day? Neither did I until recently! As it turns out, Polar Bears International has been celebrating polar bears every year on February 27th and this year, WWF-Canada has joined in with their Polar Bear Week from February 24 to February 28.
Besides the fact that they have their own day, here are some other things you may not know about this iconic bear:
- Polar Bears are the Second Largest Land Predator: A full grown polar bear male can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and can grow to up to 10 feet tall, when standing on its hind legs. The largest polar bear male in recorded history was killed in 1960 and weighed 2,210 and stood 12 feet tall! Females on the other hand are generally 8ft and only tip the scales at 550 pounds.
- Polar Bears Have Transparent Hair: Polar bears only appear white because of how the light reflects the sun, but their hair is actually transparent and can fade to yellow with time.
- Polar Bears Can't Live in Temperatures Above 50 Degrees: This species has adapted so well to the cold that they cannot adjust to live in temperatures that are above 50 degrees, which is why it is so important to reduce global warming if we want to keep them around.
- There Are Less Than 25,000 Polar Bears: Due to many threats to the species including pollution and global warming as well as the decline of their food sources, there are less than 25,000 polar bears in existence worldwide.
- Polar Bears Have Long Been Protected: Russia was the first to outlaw hunting of these majestic bears when they did so in 1956. In 1972 The United States began protecting the species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and then again under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Canada and Greendland both allow for polar bear hunting, but it is highly regulated with about 500 bears killed yearly.
Now that you know a little more about them, here are three easy ways you can be part of International Polar Bear Day and Polar Bear Week and help support their survival.
- Make a Donation - You can donate to help support arctic efforts to protect our planets polar bears through Polar Bears International and the WWF who are working hard on their behalf. Plus, if you make a donation to WWF’s Arctic efforts, Coca-Cola® will match your donation dollar-for-dollar until March 15, 2014.
- Adopt a Polar Bear - If you want to make your donation go even further, you can adopt a polar bear. Your donation comes with a wildlife plush, adoption certificate, poster and pamphlet! Why wait?
- Spread the Word - The final thing you can do to help this week is by spreading the word. Share this article and help educate people about the polar bear so that they can join you in helping ensure their survival.