Polar Bear Cub, Sleeping
Item # 34RM04
Size: 36"L x 12"W x 12"H
Out of Stock until 2011
Price: $ 225
This is a hand-crafted collection of realistic plush, sometimes lifesize animals. The "coat" of each animal is meticulously cut by hand, never stamped out by machine. Gentle paws, swishing tails, and especially soulful eyes and faces are lovingly detailed to give each character a life-like look.
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak bear, which is approximately the same size. An adult male weighs around 350–680 kg (770–1,500 lb), while an adult female is about half that size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrow ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea (hence their scientific name meaning "maritime bear") and can hunt consistently only from sea ice, so spend much of the year on the frozen sea.
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with 8 of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. For decades, unrestricted hunting[clarification needed] raised international concern for the future of the species; populations have rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of Arctic indigenous peoples, and the hunting of polar bears remains important in their cultures.
The IUCN now lists global warming as the most significant threat to the polar bear, primarily because the melting of its sea ice habitat reduces its ability to find sufficient food. The IUCN states, "If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years."The polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act by the United States Department of the Interior in 2008.
The polar bear is often regarded as a marine mammal because it spends many months of the year at sea. Its preferred habitat is the annual sea ice covering the waters over the continental shelf and the Arctic inter-island archipelagos. These areas, known as the "Arctic ring of life", have high biological productivity in comparison to the deep waters of the high Arctic. The polar bear tends to frequent areas where sea ice meets water, such as polynyas and leads (temporary stretches of open water in Arctic ice), to hunt the seals that make up most of its diet. Polar bears are therefore found primarily along the perimeter of the polar ice pack, rather than in the Polar Basin close to the North Pole where the density of seals is low.
Annual ice contains areas of water that appear and disappear throughout the year as the weather changes. Seals migrate in response to these changes, and polar bears must follow their prey. In Hudson Bay, James Bay, and some other areas, the ice melts completely each summer (an event often referred to as "ice-floe breakup"), forcing polar bears to go onto land and wait through the months until the next freeze-up. In the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, polar bears retreat each summer to the ice further north that remains frozen year-round.
The polar bear is the apex predator within its range. Several animal species, particularly Arctic Foxes and Glaucous Gulls, routinely scavenge polar bear kills.
The relationship between ringed seals and polar bears is so close that the abundance of ringed seals in some areas appears to regulate the density of polar bears, while polar bear predation in turn, regulates density and reproductive success of ringed seals. The evolutionary pressure of polar bear predation on seals probably accounts for some significant differences between Arctic and Antarctic seals. Compared to the Antarctic, where there is no major surface predator, Arctic seals use more breathing holes per individual, appear more restless when hauled out on the ice, and rarely defecate on the ice.The baby fur of most Arctic seal species is white, presumably to provide camouflage from predators, whereas Antarctic seals all have dark fur at birth.
Polar bears rarely enter conflict with other predators, though recent brown bear encroachments into polar bear territories have led to antagonistic encounters. Brown bears tend to dominate polar bears in disputes over carcasses,and dead polar bear cubs have been found in brown bear dens.Wolves are rarely encountered by polar bears, though there are two records of wolf packs killing polar bear cubs. Polar bears are sometimes the host of arctic mites such as Alaskozetes antarcticus.
Oil and gas development in polar bear habitat can affect the bears in a variety of ways. An oil spill in the Arctic would most likely concentrate in the areas where polar bears and their prey are also concentrated, such as sea ice leads.Because polar bears rely partly on their fur for insulation and soiling of the fur by oil reduces its insulative value, oil spills put bears at risk of dying from hypothermia. Polar bears exposed to oil spill conditions have been observed to lick the oil from their fur, leading to fatal kidney failure. Maternity dens, used by pregnant females and by females with infants, can also be disturbed by nearby oil exploration and development. Disturbance of these sensitive sites may trigger the mother to abandon her den prematurely, or abandon her litter altogether.
The U.S. Geological Survey predicts two-thirds of the world's polar bears will disappear by 2050, based on moderate projections for the shrinking of summer sea ice caused by global warming. The bears would disappear from Europe, Asia, and Alaska, and be depleted from the Arctic archipelago of Canada and areas off the northern Greenland coast. By 2080, they would disappear from Greenland entirely and from the northern Canadian coast, leaving only dwindling numbers in the interior Arctic archipelago.
Predictions vary on the extent to which polar bears could adapt to climate change by switching to terrestrial food sources. Mitchell Taylor, who was director of Wildlife Research for the Government of Nunavut, wrote to the US Fish and Wildlife Service arguing that local studies are insufficient evidence for global protection at this time. The letter stated, "At present, the polar bear is one of the best managed of the large Arctic mammals. If all Arctic nations continue to abide by the terms and intent of the Polar Bear Agreement, the future of polar bears is secure.... Clearly polar bears can adapt to climate change. They have evolved and perisisted for thousands of years in a period characterized by fluctuating climate." Ken Taylor, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, has said, "I wouldn't be surprised if polar bears learned to feed on spawning salmon like grizzly bears."
However, many scientists consider these theories to be naive; it is noted that black and brown bears at high latitudes are smaller than elsewhere, because of the scarcity of terrestrial food resources. An additional risk to the species is that if individuals spend more time on land, they will hybridize with brown or grizzly bears. The IUCN wrote:
“ Polar bears exhibit low reproductive rates with long generational spans. These factors make facultative adaptation by polar bears to significantly reduced ice coverage scenarios unlikely. Polar bears did adapt to warmer climate periods of the past. Due to their long generation time and the current greater speed of global warming, it seems unlikely that polar bear will be able to adapt to the current warming trend in the Arctic. If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years
A stuffed toy, stuffie, or plush toy is a toy sewn from cloth, plush, or other textiles, and stuffed with straw, beans, plastic pellets, cotton, synthetic fibres, or other similar materials. Stuffed toys are also known as plush toys (U.S. English) from plush, the outer material used, and soft toys or cuddly toys (British English). They are made in many different forms, often resembling animals, legendary creatures, cartoon characters or inanimate objects.