The geographic North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean under ice that's about 10 feet (3 meters) thick, so anything that lives there is typically more aquatic. No known amphibians or reptiles live in the Arctic tundra and polar region, but approximately 20 species of mammals live there. Among the few land animals that migrate to the region are caribou (reindeer) and the arctic fox. The aquatic mammals are beluga and killer whales, sea otters, ringed seals and walrus.
Polar bears also hang out around the North
Pole. Bears swim up to 100 miles, eating
mostly seals and never hibernating except
for the female which does take a long rest
when she has her cubs. Arctic trekkers are
most likely to encounter polar bears on their
journeys because the bears are naturally
curious - and attracted by human food. Polar
bears are increasingly seeking out humans,
especially the Inuits who live in the area,
because the melting polar ice is shortening
the bears' hunting season. So, the bears
have to forage for food in new areas that
are often occupied by humans. As the North
Pole gets warmer, polar bears and other animals
are facing extinction.
150,000 bears have been killed in the last
300 years or so with 20,000 to 30,000 remaining.
Hunting is no longer permitted except by
the Inuit tribes. The major threat is the
shrinking ice cap. The bears do not survive
well on land because their physiology is
seal hunting oriented on the ice. The USA
now recognizes them as a threatened species.
But the politics associated with saving them
Recorded sightings on our trip were:
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