Polar bears are natives to the cold arctic
climates of high latitudes. Polar bears are commonly found in
regions around the North Pole. These areas include: parts of
Canada, extending from the northern Arctic Islands to the southern
Hudson Bay area, Greenland, islands near the coast of Norway, the
Soviet Union coast, and the coasts of Alaska (U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 1-2). However, polar bears have been found as far as
88 degrees north and as far south as the Pribilof Islands, which are located in
the Bering Sea, as well as the island of Newfoundland, Iceland and
the southern tip of Greenland. (Nowak, 1093). The regions
around the North Pole are subject to periodic ice fracturing along
with open water and land. According to DeMaster and Stirling, the
refreezing of fractured ice makes it easier for the polar bear to
find food and success in hunting (Nowak,1093). According
to Ruff and Wilson, very few polar bears occupy the multiyear ice of
the polar basin. This is largely because the pack ice in this
region is far less productive and the food supply is very limited.
Male and female polar bears are different in that they occupy
different areas of the land at different times of the year.
This picture above was taken from
Polar Bears International; this polar bear has secured a
spot on the open sea pack ice.
During pregnancy, female polar bears can be found on the mainland in
their hibernating dens. Contrastingly, the male polar bears
remain on the ice during the duration of the pregnancy. In the
summertime, both male and female polar bears can be found on the
ice hunting for food. North-south migrations are common among
the polar bear population as well. Such migrations occur when
the pack ice recedes northward in the spring and advances southward
in the fall. This type of migration generally takes place when
food is scarce and supply is low. There are some populations
of polar bears, however, that are constant and do all of their
hunting and breeding in one area. Although most polar bears
position themselves either along the coastline or several hundred
kilometers from shore, some polar bears will locate relatively close
to the shore. Some polar bears have been known to wander as
close as 200 kilometers from the inland (Nowak, 1093).
Although the polar bear may relocate many different times throughout
the year, it is not considered to be a nomad (Nowak, 1093).
The above picture was taken from
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System.
This polar bear is walking along the inland coast.