When I decided to write this new blog I felt I had a lot to tell. But where to start?
This picture shows a polar bears den. Obviously the cubs are a bit older in this picture as when they are born they are totally reliant on Mom for everything so I think they would be in the same chamber with her at first.
The thing that is also different today in 2012/2013 is that polar bears are lucky if they have two cubs, let a lone three.
Both male & female weights are down so the females are not able to have as many cubs. They do not start to breed until they are around 6 – 8 years old and then only have a litter every few years.
The cubs will stay with Mom until the are 2-2.5 yrs old and then they are on their own.
Like most aspects of polar-bear life, the pregnancy process is about energy conservation. A pregnant female feeds heavily in the spring to build up her fat reserves and prepare for a maternity rest in the fall. In the maternity den, only the cubs eat, consuming their mother’s high-fat breast milk for their first months of life.
Polar bear mothers, like this one in Manitoba, stay with their cubs for about two years.
Wayne R Bilenduke/Stone/Getty Images
In late fall, the female digs a cave in a snowdrift, either on a mountainside very close to sea ice or on the sea ice itself. This den is protected from the wind, and provides a secure place to sleep. In early winter, the female gives birth after an approximate eight-month gestation period
. However, it only takes four months for the unborn cub to actually develop. During the first four months of pregnancy, the embryo is stagnant in the uterus while the mother gains the weight (about 450 pounds or 200 kilograms) she’ll need to ensure its development and proper feeding after birth.
There are typically two cubs per litter, and they’re surprisingly small. A cub weighs about a pound at birth and measures about a foot long. It’s also blind, toothless and lacking insulation, with only very short, thin fur. Polar bear cubs have no chance of survival without their mother. The family stays in the maternity den until early spring, and the mother doesn’t drink, eat or defecate during that time. All she does is protect and feed her young. Even after they leave the den, cubs stay with their mom until they’re about two years old, learning to hunt, clean themselves and survive in the harshest of habitats.
Like many mothers in the animal kingdom, a polar bear will kill anyone or anything that comes near her young. Polar bears are predators, pure and simple. So what happens when they get stuck on land, with people around? There might be trouble — but as we’ll find out, polar bears seldom go looking for a fight with a human.
The average life of a polar bear is 15-18 years although scientists have tagged a bear who reached 30 years old and one bear lived to be 42 in a zoo in Canada says the american non profit Polarbears International.
I guess that goes to show if they had more to eat they could probably live longer in the wild and produce more young.
By the way, the female polar bear who’s cubs died at the Toronto Zoo recently was a new Mom. They think she must have laid on them and suffocated them as their tummy’s were full when they found them dead the following morning.
They were no signs of stress to the cubs, they just think she is an inexperienced mom.
Maybe she needed a den like the picture above? Maybe the baby cubs would not be in the same chamber as mom and then she wouldn’t have suffocated them?
We all try to do the right thing. Bu I think the right thing is for them to be in their natural habitat with lots of ice!
One way we can help with that is to plant a tree. The tree will help cool our earth and slow the well publisized “Global Warming.”
You can call 311 in Toronto and ask them to plant a tree on your property. Toronto has a great policy that for every tree that dies or is cut down they will plant another one.You can ask them any question about the city and you actually speak to someone. It is a great feature and I really appreciate it.
You can plant certain types of trees in the spring and others in the fall. You will be put on a list and they will come to your house to see where you want to plant. So make that call now and get on the list. If you live outside the city limits you may call 416 392-2489.
Can’t wait to hear how your new tree is doing!