Today’s Daily Cool Photo was taken by American photographer Paul Solders and is entitled “The Water Bear”. It features a polar bear under the water. The fact that most images of polar bears show them on land or ice says more about the practical difficulties faced by humans than it does about the bears’ behaviour. With adaptations such as thick blubber and nostrils that close, polar bears are, in fact, highly aquatic.
They spend most of their time hunting seals on sea ice and are capable of swimming for hours at a time. Souders took his Zodiac boat to Hudson Bay in Canada to rectify this bias. He scouted for three days before he spotted “The Water Bear” (a young female) on sea ice about 30 miles offshore. The light was special but for a sinister reason. The midnight sun was filtered through smoke from forest fires raging farther South, a symptom of the warming Arctic and the greatest threat facing the polar bear. As more and more sea ice melts earlier and earlier each spring it becomes harder for the bears to hunt the seals they depend on.
This image is truly spectacular, no wonder Solders won the Animals in their environment award in the Wildlife Photographers of the year contest for 2013.
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