New book celebrates the natural history of polar bears



Posted on 07 June 2011  | 
Polar Bears: A Natural History of a Threatened Species
© WWFEnlarge

A new book by well-known polar bear scientist, arctic ecologist and long-time WWF advisor, Dr Ian Stirling, compresses the major discoveries of the last 40 years of research on polar bears into a comprehensive book about the ecology and natural history of polar bears.

The book, 'Polar Bears, a Natural History of a Threatened Species', explains how polar bears evolved, how researchers study them, aspects of their behaviour, how they prey and live on marine mammals for their survival, how seals and bears have evolved in response to each other, and how, specifically, they have come to threatened by global warming.

In a separate chapter, Dr Stirling also explains why the polar bears in Hudson Bay, Canada, have become so important to our understanding of the species, and how Churchill, Manitoba, became 'the Polar Bear Capital of the World'.

Monte Hummel, President Emeritus of WWF Canada, was full of praise for the book. He said: "For over thirty years now, whenever there is debate over polar bears, I have turned to Ian Stirling not just for definitive facts and figures, but for genuine wisdom and perspective. To work with Ian in the field is to experience a man entirely at home in the arctic environment, not unlike the bears he knows so well."

Dr Thor S. Larsen, founding member of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and formerly of the Norwegian Polar Institute, said this is the best book ever to be written about polar bears: "We are blessed with the opportunity to benefit from Ian Stirling's extensive knowledge and life-long experience with this magnificent animal.

"He shows us that the far North is not a barren and hostile environment, but unique and beautiful. The new knowledge presented in this book is crucial for conservation and management of Arctic nature and its polar bears."

Robert Buchanan, president of Polar Bears International, said: "Ian Stirling's groundbreaking studies of polar bears laid much of the foundation for both current research on the species and our present day understanding of them.

"No one can now look at these highly intelligent, threatened creatures without worrying about a world that could cause their possible extinction - and wondering how we have allowed it to come to this point. We must take action. As this book clearly illustrates, their loss would be our loss as well."

For more information about the book, visit the publishers page.

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Polar Bears: A Natural History of a Threatened Species
© WWF Enlarge

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