No animal is more symbolic of the Arctic than the polar bear. In the short space of 150,000 years, it has evolved from a grizzly bear into the most specialized predator of the arctic sea ice. Through behavioral, morphological, and physiological changes in a remarkably short period of time, the polar bear has become totally adapted to living comfortably in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Yet, the very survival of this unique mammal is now threatened by global climate warming.
Dr. Ian Stirling, the best known polar bear scientist in the world, compresses the major new discoveries of the last 40 years of research on this iconic Arctic mammal into a major new, easily readable, and scientifically comprehensive book about the ecology and natural history of polar bears. In an accessible non-technical style, he explains how polar bears evolved, how researchers study them, aspects of their behavior, how they prey and live on various marine mammals for their very survival, how the seals and bears have evolved in response to each other, and how, specifically, they have come to threatened by climate warming. In a separate chapter, he explains why the polar bears in Hudson Bay have become so important to our understanding of the species, how Churchill became "The Polar Bear Capital of the World".
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside; Revised Edition edition (May 17 2011)
Dr. Ian Stirling is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. He holds a B.S. and M.S. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a Ph.D. from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he studied the population ecology of Weddell seals in Antarctica.
He has studied polar bears throughout the Canadian Arctic for over 37 years with the Canadian Wildlife Service. His long-term studies of polar bears in Western Hudson Bay, one of the world's most southerly populations, confirmed the negative effects of climate warming. The population has dropped 22% since 1987. Dr. Stirling has also studied the bears of the Southern Beaufort Sea and Canadian High Arctic for several decades as well their interrelationships with seals and sea ice. He is the author of four books for the public on bears, including this book, considered the definitive work on the biology of the polar bear.