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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about polar bears.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. Canada is being invaded by 60 million polar bears. But few are worried about this ursine onslaught. The mighty bruins are just images on the Great White North's new $2 coin. It has no official name, but the new money is drawing nicknames the way bears are drawn to honey. Among them: the Teddy, the Bilingual Deuxbear as in too much deuxbear, and the Bearly as in barely worth $2. Canada is already home to 13,000 real live polar bears. The small town of Churchill, Manitoba, has the most popular winter accommodations for the polars. The town boasts a maternity ward of some 200 dens where pregnant polar bears seek their confinement for the darkest months. The polar is the youngest of the 8 known species of bear, having evolved during the last great Ice Age, a mere 250,000 years ago. Of those 8 species, only the polar and the American black bear populations aren't in decline. The polar bear is the largest land carnivore, with some males growing nearly 10 feet tall and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds. By comparison, Canada's new polar bear coin weighs at barely a quarter of an ounce. And for the second week of March, 1996, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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