Monday, January 22, 2007

Polar Bear vs Walrus in Arctic Documentary

I saw a documentary on TV about the Arctic and the effects on wildlife as a result of global warming last week. It followed this polar bear who was hunting for food. When there was a lack of ice due to more rapid melting of the ice floes, the result was a lack of usual prey such as seals for the polar bear. The bear had to go after larger prey like the walrus. When the walrus colony was approached by the polar bear, the adult walruses immediately formed a wall around their young. The polar bear wasn't able to get through this wall. The bear tried to take down one of the adult walruses but the thick skin of the walrus turned out to be quite difficult. It was interesting to see the comparative sizes too as the polar bear didn't look very large anymore compared to the adult sized walruses. The walruses turned out to be too powerful for the polar bear to pin down and the tusks also turned out to be quite a deterrent as well. The bear did get hurt by the tusks and the narrator on the documentary suggested that this bear will likely not survive as a result of its failure to feed as well as the weak state that the walruses put him in. Another unfortunate result of global warming perhaps as this was a real shame to see the polar bear lie down and give up hope.

This is the first time that I've seen any interaction between two of the largest animals of the Arctic, the polar bear and the walrus. Both of these animals are popular subjects of Inuit art as skilled Inuit carvers produce excellent polar bear sculptures and walrus sculptures.

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