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Winter is Coming!

Photo Credit: Gary Kramer/USFWS

Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving will be here sooner then we think. But, for the polar bears of the arctic region, winter is already in full swing.

November marks the time of the year when the ice stars to freeze over and the bears can now hunt for seals. The ringed seal is the meal of choice for a hungry polar bear and they hunt them by waiting for them to breathe at openings in the ice (the seal’s breathing holes). During this time of year the a seal cuts ten to fifteen breathing holes in the ice using their sharp claws on their fore-flippers. So, the waiting game for the bears can sometimes be a long one- from hours to days long! One thing is for sure to maintain this predator prey relationship: they both need ice.

You can see these beautiful bears in National Wildlife Refuges! Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge are home to the Southern Beaufort Sea populations of polar bears. The Arctic Refuge is also the only national conservation area where polar bears regularly den and is the most consistently used polar bear land denning area in Alaska.

So, happy November polar bears! Enjoy your feast!

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2016/11/winter-is-coming/

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