Did you know that polar bears aren’t actually white?
Since International Polar Bear Day is on Feb. 27, I’m writing with a paw-some story idea to raise awareness about these magnificent and vulnerable creatures.
>> What’s so special about polar bears?
A lot more than you could have imagined. To honor our Arctic friends’ special day, National Today is sharing little known facts about these mysterious mammals:
1. POLAR BEARS AREN’T ACTUALLY WHITE
Not to be the “bear-er” of shocking news, but that iconic white coat isn’t actually white at all—it’s transparent. Polar bears are covered in a thick layer of clear, air-filled fur that luminesces in the light. Underneath all that hair is black skin designed to absorb the warmth of sunlight.
2. POLAR BEARS ARE THE MICHAEL PHELPS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Polar bears may look chubby and lazy, but don’t be fooled. The largest land carnivores on Earth are able to swim up to 60 miles at a single stretch—without rest—in search of food. As global warming melts the Arctic ice caps, the distances polar bears have to cross are growing ever larger.
3. ACCORDING TO THE ESKIMOS, POLAR BEARS ARE SHAPE-SHIFTERS
In the Inuit (Eskimo) culture, polar bears are regarded as magical creatures of great strength and spiritual power. According to Inuit tradition, polar bears frequently shape-shift into humans and back. They also taught us how to hunt seals.
4. CANADA HAS MORE POLAR BEARS THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY
According to estimates, 60%-80% of the world’s polar bear population is concentrated in Canada. The kings of the Arctic are also native to Russia, the United States, Denmark, Greenland, and Norway.
5. COCA-COLA HELPED POLAR BEARS CAPTURE OUR HEARTS
Polar bears and Coca-Cola seem to have been inseparable since time immemorial—but actually, the relationship began with a French Coca-Cola ad in 1922. By humanizing the polar bear, Coca-Cola made an otherwise scary predator accessible to millions.
Who knew polar bears were some of the coolest creatures on the planet?! Unfortunately, two-thirds of these awesome animals could disappear by 2020 due to sea ice depletion.
To learn more about International Polar Bear Day, including ways to get involved, you can visit http://nationaltoday.com/world/international-polar-bear-day. While there, you can also read about other upcoming activist holidays, including Earth Day, Arbor Day, International Day of Peace, and World Kindness Day.
Thank you to National Today for such a great article and to the World Wildlife Foundation for the fantastic photos of polar bears!