Polar Bear, By Eric Coomes, Age 18, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Polar Bear

Ursus maritimus

Learn more about Ursus maritimus from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Svalbard, Norway
By Eric Coomes, Age 18
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Polar bears live on top of Arctic sea ice, where they mate and raise their young. Excellent swimmers, they hunt along coastlines mainly for seals but also prey upon seabirds, walrus, belugas, and narwhals. The world's largest terrestrial carnivores, these bears are indicators of the ecosystem’s health. Due to the effects of climate change, shrinking habitat, and an increase in pollutants in northern waters, their future is uncertain.

“From the frigid waters of the Arctic, this polar bear climbed onto an ice floe for a rest before returning to the hunt for food. Water streamed off the bear as it lumbered across the frozen stage—and I followed intently through my viewfinder. While grasping onto a ledge the mighty predator shook to and fro, sending a spray of water droplets in all directions.” —EC

Canon 30D; 28-300mm L IS lens at 235mm; 1/1600 sec at ƒ/13; ISO 500; hand-held.

Eric Coomes“As my primary hobby and creative outlet, photography allows me to preserve an 'instant of time' in our constantly changing environment. I have been very fortunate to travel to a number of the world’s ecological sanctuaries, giving me the opportunity to photograph wildlife within their natural habitats. With the accelerating rate of endangerment and possible extinction of some species, there is significant need for change. I feel it is important to use my photography to inspire others to appreciate the inherent beauty and wonder of nature and also to expose its plight.”—EC