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Polar Bears The polar bear king of the Arctic is one of the world’s most recognizable animals Images of the majestic beasts roaming across the ice cap plunging into frigid waters and playing with furry cubs have come to symbolize the beauty and grandeur of the Arctic Andrew E Derocher and Wayne Lynch have spent decades following the bears and this book offers the most comprehensive and readable review of their biology ecology behavior and conservationWith gripping photographs by Lynch a preeminent wildlife photographer and the personal stories of Derocher this book is as stunning to look at as it is fascinating to read It weaves together their remarkable experiences with the latest research to tell the amazing story of these Arctic predators tracing the animals back to their evolutionary roots and looking ahead to the future of polar bears on a warming planet EarthThrough informative and engaging language Derocher carefully explains the sea ice ecosystem that is essential to the survival of polar bears He addresses the threat of global warming to the Arctic—home to polar bears for tens of thousands of years—and describes in impressive detail their feeding habits distribution den ecology and reproduction Lynch’s vivid photographs capture all this and as they chronicle the wide range of polar bear behavior from family rituals to ferocious predatory practicesCaptivating accurate and inspiring Polar Bears belongs in the hands of all who love the wild


1 thoughts on “Polar Bears

  1. 987643467881 987643467881 says:

    Perhaps it's worth mentioning what I expected from the book I had 2 books on polar bears – this and “The Great White Bear A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear” so I did some research before deciding which to read authors publishing houses importantly table of contents The other book has chapter titles such as “journey” “becoming” “melt” “future” etc had enthusiastic personal stories the author sometimes writing from the perspective of the polar bear etc That's the type of book I avoid I wanted something accessible yet scientific This book has chapter titles such as “A Polar Bear Described” “Arctic Marine Ecosystems” “Distributions and Populations” “Den Ecology” etc The author's credentials also promised a well researched and presented science bookHowever all this was misleading I had several problems with this book all the examples are from chapter two after that I stopped bothering to highlight information 1 Scattered all over the place informationThe book is very messy For example in almost every section there were comparisons made between polar bears and grizzly bears – this information could have been interesting but it's spread all over the chapter in vague and unscientific language For example “If we average the size of all polar bears and compare them to all grizzly bears the Arctic ice bears are bigger However grizzlies in coastal Alaska and Kodiak Island Alaska which feed on Pacific salmon are as large as the biggest polar bears” This is one of countless examples Why not just have several charts comparing specific uantifiable data eg weight of different bears done by various researchers in different places and then analyse them in different sections accordingly 2 ReferencesThere is a general absence of any detailed references to any specific studies their methodologies etc There is a section for references at the end of the book divided by chapter but it's not indicated whywhat references what Very unscientific and unprofessional When studies are mentioned the reader is lucky to get a year and never a name To give a typical example “Studies suggest that walking polar bears are energetically inefficient compared to other mammals That polar bears with their vast home ranges move inefficiently seems counterintuitive But polar bears can afford to use a lot of energy for movement because their diet is so energy rich” What studies? The reader is assumed not to care about this information and to just take the author's word for it This again like the previous example illustrates also how vague the book is 3 Too many “I”s and “me”s and general arrogant toneAlthough there seems to have been a lot of research done and the author seems to have a lot of experience the tone is generally one that I wouldn't attribute to a serious science book which would not have been a problem except that it is presented as such To give a few examples “I have seen only one polar bear with large ears Unfortunately I was laughing so hard about the poor bear’s ears that I failed to measure how big they were or take a picture Ears are not something I would normally measure but in this case it would have been interesting I am not sure but my guess is that the large ears were a throw back to grizzlies which have much larger ears than their polar bear cousins Uncharacteristically and perhaps unkindly I wrote “Dumbo” on the bear’s capture sheet” Is there any relevant scientific information here? If the ears were actually measured there might have been “Visual acuity in polar bears is only partially understood but myths about poor eyesight abound For example Russian scientists reported that polar bear vision is not very keen but have both day and night vision I am doubtful about claims about poor vision I have seen polar bears spot me on the sea ice from a long ways off” So the Russian scientists' findings can be classified as “myths” but because the author saw from an undisclosed distance a polar bear spot him the readers should take his word for it that polar bears do not have “poor eyesight” “The iris is always brown; I have never seen any variation in eye color” “I once caught an adult female with six toes complete with six claws on one front foot Typically however each foot has five toes In addition to gripping polar bear feet can be used for sliding” That's great but what about all the other researchers? Just to note the excerpts are not taken out of longer scientific discussions on the topic they are mini sections of their own posed as information not just side notes or comments 4 Photographs There are so many photographs of bears and cute cubs in scenic environments including silhouettes on sunsets and a photograph of the author holding the head of a sedated bear for a “size comparison” and almost no useful diagrams to illustrate scientific information I counted only 2 scientific photos in chapter 2 Important information that could be presented well is often presented in the form of fact bites in captions of photographs In short this does not ualify as a “complete guide to polar bear biology and behaviour” it is a very brief unscientific and friendly summary of it with lots of lovely photographs It could I suppose function as a useful uick fact book that could be used by one to give people the impression of knowing about polar bears than one really does


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