The state of the polar bear at the end of 2022



by LORENZO CIOTTI

The state of the polar bear at the end of 2022

The polar bear is threatened by the climate crisis and the consequent global warming. The latter involves the melting of the ice, and the consequent loss of the polar bear's habitat. The species is included in the IUCN Red List.

These threats not only directly affect the polar bear and its habitat, but inevitably reduce the growth of the fauna present in those areas, leading to exasperation in the bears' search for food. Conservationists confirm that today the number of these animals is around 26,000 specimens, at the end of 2022.

The polar bear lives in the Arctic and its habitat is included in 6 countries: Canada (Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, Yukon), USA (Alaska), Russia (Krasnoyarsk, Magadan, Northwestern Federal District, Western Siberia, Yakutia), Greenland, Norway (Svalbard), Iceland.

The current population of polar bears is estimated at 20-25,000, 60% of which are in Canada. As evidence of this, a polar bear is depicted on the Canadian 2 dollar coin.

The state of the polar bear at the end of 2022

The specimens of adult male white bears weigh on average from 350 to 700 kg and measure from 2.4 to 3 meters in length.

It seems that in rare cases males can reach 1000 kg and 3.4 m in length. The largest known polar bear weighed 2,209 pounds, a male shot off Kotzebue Sound in northwest Alaska in 1960. This gigantic specimen, when mounted, stood an impressive 3.39 m tall standing on its hind limbs.

Females are about half the size of males and normally weigh between 150 and 250 kg and are about 133 cm long, but when pregnant they can weigh up to 500 kg. At birth, the puppies weigh less than 1 kg. The longevity of the polar bear in the wild is 25-30 years, while in captivity it can even exceed 35.

Despite its size, this animal is able to run at almost 50 km/h for short stretches. Polar bears, when they bite, can exert a pressure of 1235 psi, which is about 560 kg. The polar bear's 42 teeth reflect its highly carnivorous diet. The molars are smaller and more jagged than those of the brown bear, while the canines are larger and sharper.