The polar bear’s scientific name is Ursus Maritimus, meaning “maritime bear” in Latin. The oldest known polar bear fossil is a 130,000 to 110,000 year old jawbone found on Prince Charles Foreland in 2004. Biologists have estimated that there is around 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide. Their range includes 5 nations: Denmark, Greenland; Norway, Svalbard; Russia; Canada; and Alaska.
Polar bears feed mostly on ringed and bearded seals. Polar bears hunt mostly between the air, ice, and water. They rarely catch seals on land or in the open water. Polar bears also hunt seals resting on the ice. A polar bear uses its great sense of smell to locate a seal’s breathing hole and waits silently until a seal comes up for a breath. When the seal under the ice exhales, the polar bear smells it and reaches its paw into the hole to scoop the seal out. The first method a polar bear uses to hunt is to bite the seal’s head to break its skull. The second way is to follow a seal resting on the ice. The polar bear will walk within 90 meters of the seal and sits down. If the seal doesn’t notice the polar bear, the polar bear will creep between 9 and 12 meters of the seal. If the seal still doesn’t notice, the polar bear will charge at the seal. The third way of hunting is to go into a female seal’s nest in the snow and capture the mother and baby seals there. Adult polar bears will tend to eat the calorie-rich skin and blubber of the seal while the younger polar bears tend to eat the protein- rich red meat.