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1. Eating habits
A. Dr. Ian Stirling watched polar bears for several years and managed to prove that at least two things people say about these creatures are not true. First, great white bears are not left-pawed. In fact, polar bears seem to use their right and left paws equally. And secondly, polar bears do not share food with arctic fox. On the contrary, during the spring season when both go hunting they are competitors.
B. Polar bears have their own proper manners. For example, nose-tonose greetings are a way a bear asks another bear for something, such as food. When polar bears want to play they start shaking their heads from side to side to attract others. Mother bears scold cubs with a low roar. Most often polar bears use a combination of body language and vocal sounds to express their ideas.
C. Biologists estimate there are about 20 thousand polar bears. They live in Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway and Alaska. Unfortunately the recent reports say that the population of polar bears is getting smaller. Two thirds of these wild creatures could disappear by mid-century. In May 2008 the U.S. listed the polar bear as a threatened species.
D. Polar bears depend on seal fat which is the highest calorie food source possible. That’s why a lot of polar bears live in areas where they can hunt seals at openings in the sea ice. Greenhouse gases lead to rapid loss of sea ice. Polar bear specialists say these ice losses are the biggest danger to polar bear survival. If they can’t hunt seals they are endangered.
E. Polar bears love the Arctic climate, where winter temperatures can plunge to — 45 °C. Polar bears are protected by two layers of fur that help keep them warm. They also have a thick fat layer. In addition, their compact ears and small tails also prevent heat loss. In fact, polar bears have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold — especially when they run.
F. Polar bears are right at the top of the arctic food chain. They balance nature by preventing an overpopulation of seals. Smaller seals are accessible to younger bears and females. Male bears hunt seals that are larger. All other foods that polar bears may get don’t provide enough calories to provide them with all the fat they need because of their massive body size.
G. Females give birth to their first litter when they are between four and eight years old. The cubs appear in November and December in snow caves called maternity dens. These have the best conditions for small cubs. Most mothers choose sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills. They try to choose favourable location near the shore. Some dig their dens in snowdrifts on the sea ice.
A – 4
B – 6
C – 5
D – 3
E – 2
F – 1
G – 8