Adorable bears

URSA Systems shocking truth: we are killing polar bears and our own planet!

images-4

You made it all the way here to see me it must mean I managed to upset you! Did it need a fake to make you think about the problem? The extent at which the ice-caps are melting is unprecedented in the last 30 years.

And climate change could bring entire national economies to their knees, along with our daily lives! Even if we’re not skinning polar bears, we are already sacrificing their existence and our future! That is why it’s so important for all of us to act right now.

URSA is a leading manufacturer of thermal insulation materials that contribute to energy efficiency in buildings and by doing so reduce not only consumers’ energy bills but also CO2 emissions.

But there’s more.

To celebrate the re-opening of our Italian facilities, which were destroyed in 2012 during the earthquake we have launched the URSA Award dedicated to the best architectural projects offering maximum energy efficiency and lowest environmental impact regarding CO2 emissions, both essential features to deliver a sustainable building.

The URSA Award is our way of showing that using sustainable construction methods is the only way to reduce global warming.

But, there’s even more.

Of course.

URSA is doing its part, let’s all do our bit make a donation now to our partner the Italian Climate Network, a non-profit association that works every day to combat global warming.

Your donation will be used to protect the environment and the future of our children!.

Polar bears and global warming for kids

images-2

Global warming causes the average temperatures in the world to increase.

Around the North Pole, the cold season is becoming shorter, the sea ice melts earlier and the time during which polar bears can hunt for food diminishes every year.

This threat may seem remote, and difficult to explain to children growing up in more temperate regions of the world.

How can you make this situation more concrete and easier to understand? Here is what I propose.

If you do this project in the winter and it is cold enough where you live, fill a plastic tub or storage box with snow.

Pack the snow tightly.
If it’s not cold enough outside, fill a plastic container with water and put it in the freezer until the water is frozen solid.
Bring the frozen container into a warm room and put plastic polar bear figurines on the ice.

If you don’t have any polar bear figurines, you could make your own from play dough or paper.

Now, let the children observe what happens.

If you want to apply a more scientific method, start by asking the children to formulate hypotheses: “What do you think will happen?”, “How long is it going to take?”, etc.

Then, at regular intervals, let them observe what happens and let them measure the thickness of the ice.

Polar bears mainly feed on seals, which they hunt from the edge of sea ice.

With temperatures rising over the years, the ice floes shrink and the time during which polar bears can hunt for food diminishes as well.

As a result of these two effects, the survival of polar bears is threatened and in the long run, the species could disappear altogether.

This reality is represented in a very concrete(and simplified) way by the melting of the ice in the plastic container of our experiment.

Sometimes, dramatic images like this one are needed to inspire to action.

If you do this experiment, share the kid’s comments.

Polar Bears

The polar bear is the world’s largest bear(along with the omnivorous Kodiak bear) with adult males weighing in at a whopping 770to 1,500 pounds.
Polar bears are classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean.
They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellant coat that insulates them from the cold air and water.
Considered talented swimmers, they can sustain a pace of six miles per hour by paddling with their front paws and holding their hind legs flat like a rudder.
Polar bears spend over 50 percent of their time hunting for food, but less than two percent of their hunts are successful.
Their diet mainly consists of ringed and bearded seals because they need large amounts of fat to survive.
Unlike grizzly bears, polar bears are not territorial.
Although stereotyped as being aggressive, they are usually cautious confrontations and often choose to escape rather than fight.
Polar bears are stealth hunters, and the victim is often unaware of the bear’s presence until the attack is underway.
However, due to the minuscule human population around the Arctic, such attacks are rare.
Although polar bears live solitary lives, they have often been seen playing together for hours at a time and even sleeping in an embrace.
Cubs are especially playful as well.
Among young males, in particular, play fighting may be a means of practicing for serious competition during mating seasons later in life.
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations currently in decline.
Polar bears are forced to become long-distance swimmers to find food and places to sleep as Arctic ice continues to melt.
New research published April 14 in the journal “Ecography” says that polar bears are swimming longer and longer distances as the ice they depend on for survival disappears.
One-hundred bears were tracked with GPS collars off the northern coasts of Alaska and Canada.
In 2004, only 25 percent of these bears made swims of more than 31 miles, but in 2012, 69 percent of the bears were making these long journeys.
In 2009, one female bear swam for nine days straight without stopping for food or rest. She traveled a total of 250 miles to reach a habitable ice slab.

Dr.Nicholas Pilford with the Institute for Conservation Research told NewsBeat Social his findings provide “another reminder of the rapid pace of environmental change in the arctic.

Reading to Kids about Bears on a Camping Trip | Good Idea or Great Idea?

xesyoacwjfuxmwz-800x450-nopad

Maybe you’ve seen the image or read the tweet:
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears, bears will kill you.”

Bears hold an important part of our imagination, especially on camping trips. It’s just turned autumn. Autumn is a beautiful time of year.
Among the pleasantries of autumn are annual grade school class camping trips. I participated as a chaperoning parent in our children’s class camping trip – all memorable in one way or another – but one particularly memorable as to my choice of a campfire book.

My oldest son’s 4th-grade camping jamboree had all the makings of a great trip – great campground near a river, a Gold Rush town nearby, walks in the woods full of history and the warmth of a large campfire.

Everything was going great – an excellent hamburger dinner, Gold Rush style music, and camping under the stars – 0h – actually camping in a canvas tent. It was lights out. Everyone left to their respective tents.
Fathers were in one group of tents with the boys, and mothers were in another group of tents with the girls.

My tent was well placed in the campground, and it was my job to oversee five boys. I’d planned well for the trip – warm clothes, hiking boots and a book that I knew the kids would love – Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance.

I knew that my storytelling aided by the book would add to the wonder of the wilderness. Once we were safe, all zipped up in our tents.
I turned on my flashlight and asked the boys, not quite sleepy yet, if they would like for me to read them a story.
The answer was a resounding yes; Oh, what dreams they must have enjoyed that night! Research shows that reading aloud enhances classroom instruction and improves academic achievement.
I can’t say I was aware of that the investigation, but I figured that evoking the presence of bears on a campground full of fourth-graders was just what the doctor ordered.

Not long into a chapter of Bear Attacks, one of our young campers announced he wasn’t feeling too good and made a lightning-fast exit for his mother’s tent next door.

Momentarily pausing the story, I considered the possibility that the magic of reading aloud to children about killer bears might occasionally have a downside.
No other parent chaperone, however, could bring the wonders of the wild to life quite as I could.
The next morning I learned that Cory’s mother and some other chaperone mothers did not approve of my campground reading selection.
Upon a two-or-three second reflection, I thought she made a fine point.
For all remaining Fourth Grade Camping Trips, Bear Attacks stayed at home. Stalked by a Mountain Lion, I learned, proved much more kid-friendly.

I hope these give you some great ideas for your next camping trip.

Thank you.

Bears and Food

images

North American Black Bears are omnivores, which means they eat a little bit of everything. The majority of their diet consists of grasses, fruits, and nuts, but they also get protein from insects, small mammals, and the carcasses of dead animals.
Even one taste of human food can cause a bear to change its behavior, and potentially become aggressive towards humans. Let’s take a look at the ways you can keep your food secure and bears safe at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Camp sites in established campgrounds have food lockers. Put all of your food and scented items, like toiletries and bug repellent, in there when not in use. That way if a bear comes around, it won’t get a taste. Here at Lassen Volcanic, bears don’t associate vehicles with food, and we want to keep it that way.

So storing food and scented items in a hard-sided vehicle with the windows rolled up is appropriate. Make sure to keep ice chests and other food containers as hidden as possible. The trunk is a good place.

If you plan on heading into the backcountry for an overnight backpacking adventure in the wilderness, you must carry with you an approved bear-resistant food container, like a bear canister, to put all of your food and scented items in.

You can rent a bear canister from the Lassen Association at the Loomis Museum or the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center Place the container on the ground at least 100 feet away from your tent.

If a bear does find it, it might bat it around, but it won’t get the smelly stuff inside.

And be sure not to leave your pack unattended at any time.

Do your part to keep Lassen’s bears safe, healthy, and wild, by properly storing your food and scented items when you come to enjoy your park.

Polar Bear Research at San Diego Zoo

images-3

The USGS conducts research on polar bears and has documented declines in their population. Survival rates and body size.

To better understand how sea ice decline in the Arctic affects polar bears, USGS scientists are using accelerometers to gather data about the energy needed for the bears to hunt for food.

The scientists use accelerometers to track the polar bear movements like a Wii-fit video game controller tracks yours.

Since the accelerometer data are cryptic, USGS scientists are using captive bears in zoos to understand what the data mean. Researchers did Geological Survey at the San Diego Zoo collecting accelerometer data from their adult female polar bear Tatiq.

And so the keepers here at the San Diego Zoo have been training Tatiq to wear a collar for the last four months and slowly getting her acclimated to the collar. And so now she’s able to wear the collar for about three hours a day without any issues. She’s totally comfortable wearing the collar and she doesn’t seem phased at all wearing it. And so researchers did videotaping her while she’s wearing this accelerometer collar to calibrate the accelerometer data.

Basically trying to understand what the accelerometer data looks like for different behaviors. So when Tatiq’s walking, what the accelerometer data looks like compared to when she’s swimming versus resting versus eating, with the intent of actually applying that information to accelerometer data we’recollecting from wild bears.

Researchers attached accelerometers to their GPS collars that they were deploying on wild polar bears in the Arctic. So this study should help them get a better understanding of how polar bears are responding to declines in sea ice and what the actual implications are for survival, body condition and then start to look at how future forecasts for declines might impact polar bears in the future.

Why Polar Bears Don’t Hibernate?

images-1

I know this sounds real dumb, but Polar Bears are bears, right? So why don’t they hibernate in the winter? Howdy kids, Trace here with the bear necessities for DNews! Polar bears live in the Arctic Circle, which might cause you to assume it’s the long days which keep these fuzzy areas from enjoying a long winter’s nap, but science believes otherwise.

Hibernation is a strange business; it’s not the same as sleeping. Science is still figuring out how to properly define hibernation — as all animals do it a little differently.

Hibernation is a way to conserve energy during the months of the year when food for some animals grows scarce.
Bears, groundhogs, and chipmunks jump to mind first, but some fish, reptiles, birds and bats also experience in some way.
During hibernation, breathing and heart rate slow, metabolism plummets and body temperature follow that trend too.
It’s sort of like a natural state of suspended animation! Hibernating animals are going through physiological changes, whereas sleeping animals are maintaining normal physiology, but changing their mental state.
It’s very difficult to wake up a hibernating animal, and doing so takes SO much energy it wouldn’t go back under again.
Seriously, the arctic ground squirrel’s body temperature gets so low. The neurons of its brain are incapable of firing.
Bears aren’t “true hibernators,” because they are done to shut down like that — but they don’t need food or water all winter, which is a mark of hibernation as well.
And they don’t poop or pee.
Nope.
Not even once.
Polar bears don’t hibernate, but the femalesCAN go 240 days without food.
During this time, they commonly lose around 1.7 pounds per day (0.77 kg) and birth cubs.
They escape the harsh winter by building hollow in the snow.

Meanwhile, the males hunt or stalk seals and other prey, in what is called “walking hibernation,” meaning their body temperature remains normal, but their metabolic rate slows down.

A study in Genome Biology and Evolution compared the genetic code of hibernating brown and black bears to that of the now-hibernating polar bears to find out how they can do that without curling up to sleep.

Within the DNA, researchers discovered polar bears have genes which ramp up nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide tells the polar bear’s body to stop breaking down fat into energy, and instead convert it directly to heat in a process called adaptive or non-shivering thermogenesis.

Polar bear s have a thermostat to keep them warm and help conserve energy in response to their current diet or environment.

For the record, Panda bears, sun bears, sloth bears of Asia and spectacled bears of South America also do not hibernate — mainly, like with the polar bear — because there’s no season lack of food.

Sorry brown and black bears.

Go sleep it off.
What’s your favorite bear? Polar? Panda? Bear-o-dactyl?!Please leave a comment below.