The 27th of February there is worldwide celebrated the International Day of Polar Bear. First of all, this is the fete day of five countries, on the territory of which the predator dwells, - Russia, Norway, Canada, Denmark (Greenland) and the United States of America.
Polar Bear is the largest terrestrial predator of the planet. Its weight can reach 800 kg. The average male weight is 400-450 kg, of a female – 350-380 kg. Body length of males is 200-250 cm, length for females is 160-250 cm. Height at the withers is 130-150 cm.
Polar predator inhabits the area of floating ice near the coasts of the Arctic Ocean. In Russia, in particular, it lives on Wrangel Island, on the territory of the national park «The Russian Arctic» and of the «Franz Josef Land» federal reserve, where it is being protected and maintained. There are about 26 thousand Polar Bears at the present time in the world. This species is listed in the Red Book of the USA, Canada, and the Russian Federation.
Each year the usual habitat of the host of the Arctic is changing more and more. The main threat for the Polar Bear the scientists consider to be the melting of the polar ice caps – the main place of habitat of the animal. The loss of the ice cover of the Arctic seas forcing polar bears to spend more time on the coast, that represents a danger to the species. They are deprived of access to their main object of nutrition – the seals, which dwell on sea ice, besides there the predators are being at a high risk of collision with a human.
However not only decrease in ice cover reduces the number of Polar Bears. There should be named the other risk factors, such as Arctic pollution and poaching.
Strengthening of the Polar Bear protection, population status monitoring, study of predator movements and reaction of the species to climate change are measures are particularly important in these conditions.
The Russian Geographical Society has been supporting the «Polar Bear» project from 2010. Its main objective – conservation and studying the Polar Bears in the Russian Arctic, development of non-invasive methods of collecting biological material (dropped guard hairs, droppings) for genetic studies of structure of populations of species in the region.