Title:     "Alaska Aurora Polar Bear Search"

© Alaska Artist Dianne Roberson

     Northern Lights | Alaska                   

Stock #  DA 191

Digital Art       |         Color Print on glossy paper

Size:  20" wide by 16" High     $ 45.00      Color Print on glossy paper                                                   

Size:  20" wide by 16" High     $ 175.00     Color Print on stretched canvas                            

Size:  14" wide by 11" High     $ 35.00     Color Print on glossy paper                                                    

Description:  Polar bears have longer necks, and smaller heads and ears, compared to other species of bears.  The body of a polar bear is
large and stocky, similar to that of a brown bear, except it lacks the shoulder hump.  Polar bear skin is black and the fur is actually clear,
lacking in pigment.  The white appearance is the result of light being refracted from the clear hair strands.  Their coat is made up of a thick
outer layer of fur on top of a dense undercoat.  The forepaws are broad and webbed to assist in swimming and walking on thin ice.  The
soles of their feet are furred for insulation and traction while walking on ice and snow.  Polar bears are usually solitary, with the exceptions of
mothers with cubs or groups of polar bears feeding on whale carcasses.  Males are females are also found together when paired during
mating season.  Bears may also come into competition with one another when a seal kill attracts other bears looking to scavenge.  In
instances where bears encounter each other, the smaller bear will tend to run away.  A female with cubs, however, will charge males that
are much larger to protect her young or a kill that they are feeding on.  Polar bears conserve their energy as much as possible, either
sleeping, lying, or waiting (still hunting).  The rest of their time is spent walking, swimming as they travel across sea ice, stalking prey, or
feeding.  Humans and other polar bears are the only predators of the polar bear.  Male polar bears may prey on cubs if they come into
contact.  Females with cubs tend to avoid other bears for this reason.  Polar bears do not hibernate like other bears and do not den in winter
unless they are pregnant females.   A pregnant female will find a den or excavate her own to give birth to her cubs, going in the den in
November or December and emerging with cubs for the first time in March or April.  Polar bears will travel as much as 600 miles north and
south, as the ice melts and freezes.  During summer, bears may remain on islands or coastlines with land fast ice, drift on ice flows, or get
stranded on land where they are forced to endure warm weather.

Polar bears are carnivores.  In summer, they may consume vegetation out of necessity but gain little nutrition from it.  Their primary prey are
ringed seals.  Bears often leave a kill after consuming only the blubber because the high caloric value of blubber relative to meat is
important to bears for maintaining an insulating fat layer and storing energy for times when food is scarce.  Polar bears do not store or
cache unconsumed meat as other bears do.  Polar bears have two hunting strategies.  Still-hunting is used most often, involving finding a
seal's breathing hole in the ice and waiting for the seal to surface to make the kill.  When a bear sees a seal basking out of the water, it will
use a stalking technique to get close and then make an attempt to catch it.  One stalking technique is crouching and staying out of sight
while creeping up on the seal.  Another technique is to swim through any channels or cracks in the ice until it is close enough to catch the
seal. Using this technique, a bear may actually dive under the ice and surface through the breathing hole in order the surprise the seal and
eliminate its escape route.  Feeding usually occurs immediately after the kill has been dragged away from the water.  Polar bears consume
the skin and blubber first and the rest is often abandoned.  Other polar bears or arctic foxes then scavenge these leftovers.  

Females are sexually mature when they are three to six years old, males reach sexual maturity at four to five years.  The breeding season for
polar bears is March through May.  They have delayed implantation, as do many mammal species, which allows females to expel fertilized
eggs if their body condition is too poor to support themselves and fetal growth.  If body condition is good, a female will become pregnant in
fall.   Cubs are born in November or December in snow caves called maternity dens.  After feeding heavily in April or May, females that have
mated dig a den in late October or early November. Most choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills near the shore.
Some dig their dens in snowdrifts on the sea ice.  Twins are common, although single births of one cub are becoming more common as
females face increased stress due to loss of sea ice habitat and valuable hunting time.

When cubs are born, they are 12 to 14 inches long and weigh a little more than one pound.  Their eyes are closed, they have no teeth, and
are covered in very short and soft fur.  They depend on their mother completely for food and warmth.  While in the den, a female does not eat
or drink.  Cubs nurse on their mother's milk, which is over 30% fat, and grow very quickly.  By March or April, females are ready to begin
coming out of the den with their cubs for very short periods.  The do not stay out for long or travel far at this time, due to the cubs' lack of
mobility.  They gradually range farther from the den site with their mother, who is eager to get back on sea ice to hunt seals before summer
ice melt.   Females usually give birth for the first time after age six, and cubs stay with them for up to three years while they learn their hunting
and survival skills from their mothers. This gives polar bears one of the slowest reproductive rates of any mammal, typically producing only
five litters in their lifetime.

Northern Lights

Also know as the Aurora Borealis, these lights are best viewed in the cold dark winter months in Alaska.   The beautiful blaze of the Northern
or Aurora Borealis, begins when energetic electrically charged particles accelerate along the magnetic field lines into the upper
atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms to give off light. The air lights up rather like what happens in a
fluorescent light tube.  The colors reflect gases, the most usual yellow-green color coming from oxygen. Red coloring is also due to oxygen
with a contribution from nitrogen and violet is due to nitrogen. The charged particles originate from the sun, and it is the “weather” conditions
on the sun that decide whether or not we will see the aurora.

This print is treated with an ultra violent protective coating.  It will be rolled and inserted into a mailing tube if ordering a glossy paper print, if
ordering stretched canvas this print will be boxed.   The print  will be mailed first class by the U.S. Postal Service and insured.
Art World Plus  |  Digital Art Gallery

Phone:  1-404-462-4615

Inside Alaska phone:  775-4229
Alaskan Art by Alaskan Artist Dianne Roberson