A white semiaquatic bear found throughout Arctic regions, generally on drifting oceanic ice floes. A swift, wide-ranging traveler and a good swimmer, it stalks and captures its prey. Polar bears are solitary and strictly carnivorous. It primarily eats seal but also fish, seaweed, grass, birds, and caribou. The male weighs 900–1,600 lbs and is about 5.3 ft tall at the shoulder and 7–8 ft long. It has a short tail. The hairy soles of its broad feet protect it from the cold and help it move across the ice. Sunlight can pass through the thick fur, its heat being absorbed by the bear's black skin. As their prey is aquatic, polars bears are excellent swimmers. The polar bear is the largest and most powerful carnivore on land. It has no natural predators and knows no fear of humans, making it an extremely dangerous animal, having been known to kill people. The bears are hunted especially by Inuit people for their hides, tendons, fat, and flesh. At the turn of the 21st century, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears existed in the wild. Model forecasts by the U.S. Geological Survey suggest habitat loss due to global warming may cause polar bear populations to decline by two-thirds by the year 2050.
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