Image credit: Paul Nicklen / National Geographic, August 2011, retrieved here.
The planet’s most massive land-based carnivores, with some polar bears exceeding 1700 lbs., bears have thrived in great numbers across five continents until very recently. The combination of industrialized pollutants, human encroachment, climate change and habitat loss threaten this magnificent megafaunal specimen in all its grand varieties.
The continued presence of bear hunters in regions where it’s unsustainable simply magnifies this problem. As hungry black bears emerge from hibernation, polar bears suffer from a mystery illness, the fewer than 1,600 remaining wild Giant Pandas lose their habitat (and fail to breed in captivity), the lone bright spot in bear news is that polar bears in Canada may be surviving the changing climate better than we’d previously thought. Combatting these problems with insanely ridiculous displays of cuteness, raising awareness is the top priority of bear advocates.