Friday, April 19, 2013
Who Don't Care 'bout The Polar Bear?
(click on any photo to enlarge it)
It helps to have thick skin. (No, you have not been redirected to one of my self-help sites where I collect Google Ads dollars! You're still at arcticfever.com)
As you may have read in previous posts, summers in the Arctic are no longer fun for the Polar bear. Sometimes, before they can say "Jack Robinson", (or "Jack Daniel's" if you believe the stories about drinking habits in the far north) a Polar bear waking up from winter on Svalbard Island cannot see any sea ice, because it has melted and retreated so far, and so fast, that it's hundreds of miles away.
This means no ice floats to hunt for seal, and that means a long summer without food. Well, you'd say, pity for all living animals on the island! The Polar bear is at the top of its own food chain, a well trained killing machine, and so any sea mammal on the island is doomed!
Not as far as the Walrus is concerned. The Walrus, which weighs up to a ton, can dive down to 800 feet to scrap clams of the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, and has two very sharp tasks, also has very thick skin.
As the sea ice melts, Walruses come on shore by the hundreds, mighty yet lazy. Easy prey? Not really. Their skin is so thick, and their demeanor so violent, that they're not really threatened. Following are photos of a Polar bear trapped on Svalbard for the summer, very hungry. It walked along the shore looking for food, and look who it saw! (Pics were shot from my kayak)
The smell of fresh meat might drive him crazy, so he decides to check it out:
Are you afraid of Polar Bears? Not the Walrus! See how they don't even bother to look up. They know the bear will not hurt them because they can hurt it. Right now, he's looking for a young or sick one, which they may have among them.
The Walrus couldn't be bothered. After all, if you looked like this, would you?
And the bear? It doesn't know whether it should be frustrated or just not waste energy. It's hungry, almost starving, but knows a fight with a bunch of healthy Walruses will not fix that.
So it just walks past them. Look at the Walruses - I would be Offended by not being looked at like they're treating the Polar bear! So what's left? The bear, frustrated, tired, hungry, and lonely, despite being one of the most efficient predators on the face of the earth, has one option left:
Will it survive the summer? An increasing number of Polar bears starve to death as they're trapped on Arctic islands, the summer ice floating hundreds of miles away. Global Warming, man-made or not, is taking its toll.
And finally, another piece of self-help advice: if you see a Walrus like in the following photo, make sure you stay stable on your kayak no matter what.
To read more about the Walrus, see my post The Beauty And The Beast