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Polar Bears

THE POLAR BEAR (order Carnivora, family Ursi-dae) is the largest bear species and is thought to have evolved from brown bears, Llrsus arctos, approximately one million years ago. There are 19 recognized populations, distributed in Canada, the United States (Alaska), Norway (Svalbard Islands), Denmark (Greenland), and Russia. The current estimated worldwide population is 20,000–25,000.

Polar bear territories can cover tens of thousands of sq. km. They live solitarily, but often congregate around food sources. Their diet consists primarily of ringed seals, but includes other seals, walruses, and beluga whales. They get the majority of their nutritional intake in the spring and summer from seal pups, which can be as much as 50 percent fat. Polar bears can swim for 37 mi. (60 km.) without resting, at ...

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