Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia
Also known as
Sea bear, ice bear, white bear, Nanuq
Ice edge and coastal regions
Special concern/data deficient
Order Carnivora (carnivorans); Family Ursidae (bears)
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Polar bears are a true Canadian icon. They have great cultural significance, particularly for Inuit and other northern communities. Almost two thirds of the world’s polar bears are found in Canada. Although polar bears appear white, their skin is actually black and their two dense layers of fur are transparent, reflecting light and directing heat from the sun’s rays down the hair shaft where it is absorbed by their black skin.