Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior

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JHU Press, Mar 8, 2012 - Science - 249 pages
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The polar bear, king of the Arctic, is one of the world’s most recognizable animals. Images of the majestic beasts roaming across the ice cap, plunging into frigid waters, and playing with furry cubs have come to symbolize the beauty and grandeur of the Arctic. Andrew E. Derocher and Wayne Lynch have spent decades following the bears, and this book offers the most comprehensive and readable review of their biology, ecology, behavior, and conservation.

With gripping photographs by Lynch, a preeminent wildlife photographer, and the personal stories of Derocher, this book is as stunning to look at as it is fascinating to read. It weaves together their remarkable experiences with the latest research to tell the amazing story of these Arctic predators, tracing the animals back to their evolutionary roots and looking ahead to the future of polar bears on a warming planet Earth.

Through informative and engaging language, Derocher carefully explains the sea ice ecosystem that is essential to the survival of polar bears. He addresses the threat of global warming to the Arctic—home to polar bears for tens of thousands of years—and describes in impressive detail their feeding habits, distribution, den ecology, and reproduction. Lynch’s vivid photographs capture all this and more as they chronicle the wide range of polar bear behavior, from family rituals to ferocious predatory practices.

Captivating, accurate, and inspiring, Polar Bears belongs in the hands of all who love the wild.

  

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 A Polar Bear Described
7
3 Evolution
33
4 Early Polar BearHuman Interactions
45
5 Arctic Marine Ecosystems
51
6 Sea Ice and Habitat
55
7 Prey
69
8 Distribution and Populations
95
11 Den Ecology
155
12 From Birth to Death
171
13 Threats
199
14 Looking Forward
225
Scientific Names of Plants and Animals
229
Species of Plants and Animals Eaten by Polar Bears
231
References
233
Index
245

9 Hunting Methods
125
10 Polar Bear Behavior
137

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About the author (2012)

Andrew E. Derocher, a leading polar bear researcher, is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and author of numerous articles on large Arctic mammals. Wayne Lynch is a freelance science writer and wildlife photographer and a fellow of the prestigious Explorers Club. Among his many publications is Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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