Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) usually hangout alone, except when it comes to family life. Moms and their cubs form close bonds and it all starts when pregnant Polar bears head off to snow dens to give birth.
Pregnant Polar bears will setup a den between October and November and give birth between November and January. These new moms will continue to hibernate until spring as they nurse their young. When the cubs are born they need lots of help from mom, not only are they born with their eyes closed they are also really small weighing up to 600 grams (about the weight of a can of soup!). By March or April these cubs are ready to learn to hunt but they still don’t leave mom’s side. Polar bear cubs stay with their moms until they are about 2 to 3 years old. Cubs will spend these years learning how to hunt from mom and packing on the pounds to eventually reach the weight of a full grown polar bear, between 300 and 800kg.
Climate Change and Polar Bear Cubs
Scientists studying Polar bears in Hudson Bay have noticed that as we lose sea ice the number of cubs born also goes down. Climate change is making the Polar bears’ Arctic home a very different place, as our planet gets warmer ice breaks up sooner which shortens their hunting season. With a shorter hunting season females have a tougher time building up the stored fat that they need to be pregnant it also makes it trickier to find food for their young cubs. You can help take on climate change to protect Polar bears by conserving energy, click here to learn how.