Polar bear cub Anori shakes water off, while her mother Vilma stands watch.
Credits: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
Next time you see a polar bear supposedly stranded on a piece of off-shore ice, remember: it can swim hundred of kilomotres without rest.
It can also store far, allowing it to fast - even as pregnant female, for months without food.
Prof. Susan Crockford, a zoologist, spoke Tuesday at teh University of Toronto to remind people that they polar bears are "doing just fine" even on thin ice.
"What's important to remember is that the ice only needs to be ...about a foot thick to support an adult polar bear," Crockford said.
At a time when polar bears are used to market products and a petition to put them on the endangered species list is making the rounds, she points out their incredible resilience.
"Polar bears are an icon, any they're being used for people have various kinds of agendas," Crockford said.
According to her, current concern for polar bears is based on studies done and easily accessible polar bears: the ones lives in Hudson's Bay, around 3%-5% of the population.
"They're modeling to only those bears living near shore," Crockford said. "It's giving us a biased view of what's going on."
She said roughly half of all bears den - create a temporary home off shore.
Studies focus on the ones near shore simply because "it's much easier."
Corckford also said disappearing multiyear ice isn't a problem because the bears adapt to first year ice, which normally thinner.
"First-year ice is perfectly acceptable for all the things bears need to do, including denning," she said.
Crockford said there isn't enough data to say they're all in danger.
"We need more polar bear biologists going out and collecting some more good kind of date to fill in some kind of those holes," she said.