Wild Baby Polar Bear
This 8-month-old polar bear is out of his warm den and having the best of time. He and his sister have been snuggled up with their mother over the winter and are now thrilled to be able to play, tumbling and wrestling with each other in a game that will teach them crucial skills to defend themselves. But his mother is worried. Every year she has seen the sea ice declining further and further. She worries about her cubs and how they will find food without coming into contact with humans.
A descendent of the brown bear, the polar bear is the only bear who is considered a marine mammal. They spend so much time on the freezing sea ice and are completely dependent on the ocean for both it’s food and habitat. They are very strong swimmers with large front paws and slightly webbed back feet and can swim constantly for days at a time. Their thick white fur that is crucial for keeping them warm is not white, but translucent, reflecting the snow around them which gives it it’s colour. Their skin on the other hand is black.
Polar bears live solitary lives, learning all the skills necessary with their mother and sibling (usually polar bears give birth to twins) before heading out on their own. The mother will usually give birth in winter, digging a den deep in a snowdrift to protect her cubs and give them some insulation from the freezing outdoors. The mother started her winter in hibernation and once her cubs are born, she continues to fast while still feeding her cubs on milk. When the weather starts to warm the mother will break out of the den, feeding on any vegetation while her cubs play, getting used to using their legs for walking. When they are ready, they will start the long walk to the sea ice where the mother can hunt for seal. The cubs will stay with her for 28 months before she chases them away, forcing them to become independent.
Despite their stereotype for being aggressive, the polar bear is not territorial and will often choose to run away rather than fight. Polar bears will usually only attack if they are severely provoked or hungry. This doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. The largest of all bears, this is not an animal you would want to cross.
But with Arctic sea ice cover declining by about 14% per decade, the polar bear is coming into trouble. With less sea ice to hunt on, polar bears are forced into areas inhabited by humans to search for food. This can be dangerous for both bear and human. They are also threatened by our industrial exploits that are becoming more and more frequent in the Arctic, the hunt for oil. Not only is this a disturbance and taking away more of their homes, but an oil spill could also be devastating for them as well as the entire ecosystem. It is so important to look for alternatives to help protect these precious bears and all the other animals who call this wintery wonderland home.
This cub is ready to explore his snowy home. He has been tucked in a den for winter and now it’s time for him to play and get used to his legs before his long walk to the sea ice. His biggest threats are other polar bears who may try to kill him and habitat loss from the warming temperatures, leaving his species vulnerable. #wildaboutbabies #lovethelast
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/