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Polar bears under watch

polar bear

Photo: Terry Debruyne/USFWS

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Be careful

The Arctic is an unforgiving landscape, but one to which the polar bear is perfectly suited to live with two layers of fur and a thick fat layer for warmth. The animals range from Russia to Alaska, from Canada to Greenland, and onto Norway's Svalbard archipelago. The greatest variable in the the polar bear's life cycle is sea ice. The bears returned to the sea later than normal this year, according to Dr. Andrew Derocher, who has worked extensively with polar bears in Canada and Norway.