Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species

by Ian Stirling

Fitzhenry & Whiteside | May 17, 2011 | Trade Paperback

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No animal is more symbolic of the Arctic than the polar bear. In the short space of 150,000 years, it has evolved from a grizzly bear into the most specialized predator of the arctic sea ice. Through behavioral, morphological, and physiological changes in a remarkably short period of time, the polar bear has become totally adapted to living comfortably in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Yet, the very survival of this unique mammal is now threatened by global climate warming.

Dr. Ian Stirling, the best known polar bear scientist in the world, compresses the major new discoveries of the last 40 years of research on this iconic Arctic mammal into a major new, easily readable, and scientifically comprehensive book about the ecology and natural history of polar bears. In an accessible non-technical style, he explains how polar bears evolved, how researchers study them, aspects of their behavior, how they prey and live on various marine mammals for their very survival, how the seals and bears have evolved in response to each other, and how, specifically, they have come to threatened by climate warming. In a separate chapter, he explains why the polar bears in Hudson Bay have become so important to our understanding of the species, how Churchill became "The Polar Bear Capital of the World".

Despite the deep concerns about climate warming, there is hope. Ecotourism in several areas, such as Svalbard, Hudson Bay, and the Canadian High Arctic is helping to develop a world-wide constituency of people who care about polar bears and the Arctic. The influence of this constituency is vitally important because there is still time for the world to reduce the rate of climate warming, but only if we make significant reductions in greenhouse gases soon. Maps, tables and graphs throughout the book illustrate the distribution of polar bears, where they originated, the status of populations, critical differences in ice conditions and how they impact the survival different populations of bears, and many other technical aspects made simple. The details of their ecology, behavior, hunting, and habitat us, described in detail in the text are illustrated with the most diverse and extensive collection of spectacular photographs of polar bears ever assembled in a single book. Some of the finest photos from several of the world''s most experienced polar bear photographers, including Norbert Rosing, Mats Forsberg, Stefan Lundgren, Sue Flood, Doug Allen, Daniel Cox, Per Michelsen, David Shaw, Philip Dalton, and Jenny Ross, combine with the text make this book an incomparable treasure of understanding of this amazing mammal.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 300 pages, 10 × 8 × 1 in

Published: May 17, 2011

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1554551552

ISBN - 13: 9781554551552

Found in: Science and Nature

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– More About This Product –

Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species

by Ian Stirling

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 300 pages, 10 × 8 × 1 in

Published: May 17, 2011

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1554551552

ISBN - 13: 9781554551552

About the Book

Dr Ian Stirling, the best known polar bear scientist in the world, compresses the major new discoveries of the last 40 years of research on this iconic mammal into a new easily readable and scientifically comprehensive book about the ecology and natural history of polar bears. He explains how polar bears evolved, how they were researched, aspects of their behaviour and how the threat of global warming is jeopardizing the survival of this magnificent hunter.

Table of Contents


CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
Introduction

  1. Present Day Distribution and Abundance
  2. The Origin of the Polar Bear
  3. Polar Bears and Humans
  4. How Do You Study a Polar Bear?
  5. What Makes a Polar Bear Tick?
  6. Reproduction
  7. Behavior
  8. Hunters of the Northern Ice
  9. Life and Death
10. The Polar Bear Capital of the World
11. Highlights of Conservation - Past and Present
12. Environmental Concerns
13. Climate Warming: The Game Changer in Polar Bear Conservation
14. The Future: Concerns and Hopes

Glossary of Terms
Figure Titles
Table Titles
Appendix: Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears
Bibliography
Index

From the Publisher

No animal is more symbolic of the Arctic than the polar bear. In the short space of 150,000 years, it has evolved from a grizzly bear into the most specialized predator of the arctic sea ice. Through behavioral, morphological, and physiological changes in a remarkably short period of time, the polar bear has become totally adapted to living comfortably in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Yet, the very survival of this unique mammal is now threatened by global climate warming.

Dr. Ian Stirling, the best known polar bear scientist in the world, compresses the major new discoveries of the last 40 years of research on this iconic Arctic mammal into a major new, easily readable, and scientifically comprehensive book about the ecology and natural history of polar bears. In an accessible non-technical style, he explains how polar bears evolved, how researchers study them, aspects of their behavior, how they prey and live on various marine mammals for their very survival, how the seals and bears have evolved in response to each other, and how, specifically, they have come to threatened by climate warming. In a separate chapter, he explains why the polar bears in Hudson Bay have become so important to our understanding of the species, how Churchill became "The Polar Bear Capital of the World".

Despite the deep concerns about climate warming, there is hope. Ecotourism in several areas, such as Svalbard, Hudson Bay, and the Canadian High Arctic is helping to develop a world-wide constituency of people who care about polar bears and the Arctic. The influence of this constituency is vitally important because there is still time for the world to reduce the rate of climate warming, but only if we make significant reductions in greenhouse gases soon. Maps, tables and graphs throughout the book illustrate the distribution of polar bears, where they originated, the status of populations, critical differences in ice conditions and how they impact the survival different populations of bears, and many other technical aspects made simple. The details of their ecology, behavior, hunting, and habitat us, described in detail in the text are illustrated with the most diverse and extensive collection of spectacular photographs of polar bears ever assembled in a single book. Some of the finest photos from several of the world''s most experienced polar bear photographers, including Norbert Rosing, Mats Forsberg, Stefan Lundgren, Sue Flood, Doug Allen, Daniel Cox, Per Michelsen, David Shaw, Philip Dalton, and Jenny Ross, combine with the text make this book an incomparable treasure of understanding of this amazing mammal.

About the Author

As a Research Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Ian Stirling has studied the behavior, population ecology, and predator-prey relationships of polar bears for 40 years, longer than anyone else in the world.

As a Research Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Ian Stirling has studied the behavior, population ecology, and predator-prey relationships of polar bears for 40 years, longer than anyone else in the world.

Editorial Reviews

“With this book – the best 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. When he began his study of polar bears more than 40 years ago, knowledge was limited and research methods were crude. Ian and his many colleagues now use modern techniques, ranging from satellite imagery to telemetry equipment to DNA-analyses. The outcome is exciting and fascinating.   Ian Stirling is not only a brilliant scientist – he has also a profound love for the Arctic’s nature and wildlife. He shows us that the far North is not a barren and hostile environment, but unique and beautiful. The fragile Arctic is, however, affected by climate change, transboundary pollution and other disturbances. The new knowledge presented in this book is crucial for conservation and management of Arctic nature and its polar bears.   Read Ian Stirling’s book, admire the pictures and enjoy. And if you go North, be as careful as he is. Leave nothing but your footprints”.     —Dr. Thor S. Larsen. Founding member of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and former Head of Biology Department and Director of Research at the Norwegian Polar Institute         “For over thirty years now, whenever there is debate over polar bears, I have turned to Ian Stirling not just for definitive facts and fig
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