Today is National Polar Bear Day and what better way to celebrate than with a few Fun Facts from the heroine of my book NORTHERN DECEPTION.
Northern Deception takes place in Churchill, Manitoba which is aptly called the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.” Canada has more to offer than ice, snow and polar bears, but I wanted to catch an editor’s eye with our well-known Canadian icon, and I did!
Northern Deception is about a female polar bear scientist who carries secrets from her past and her present. When she’s reunited in Churchill with her old boyfriend from university, she needs him to keep her safe from someone who’s trying to kill her because of secrets and it takes everything they have to figure out who’s after them.
Kira Summer’s Fun Polar Bear Facts:
I love doing research and learning about polar bears was no exception. Some of these facts made it in to the book and some didn’t:
- Canada is home to about 15,000 polar bears
- Adult males weigh 772-1,543 lbs and measure 7ft 10in–9ft 10 in in total length
- Adult females weigh 331-551 lbs and measure 5 ft 11 in–7 ft 10 in in total length, unless she’s pregnant when she can weigh as much as 1,101 lbs.
- The largest polar bear on record, reportedly weighing 2,209 lbs, a male, was shot in northwestern Alaska in 1960. This specimen stood 11 ft 1 in tall on its hind legs when mounted.
- An adult bear’s foot is approximately 12” across and it’s claws are 3” to 5” long.
- It has an extremely keen sense of smell and can detect seals nearly 1 mile away and buried under 3 feet of snow/ice. Its hearing is as acute as a human and its eyesight is also good at long distances up to a kilometre.
- The polar bear is an excellent swimmer and can swim for days. A bear can swim at 6 mph.
- When walking they can go around 3.5 mph. When running, they can reach up to 25 mph (or up to 40 km/hr).
- Whereas brown or black bears might maul a person, polar bears are predatory and will almost always kill a person unless someone saves the person from the bear.
- They leave their scent in their tracks which allow other bears to keep track of one another in the vast Arctic wilderness.
- The polar bear is the most carnivorous member of the bear family and primarily eats ringed or harp seals. They can haul a 150 lb ringed seal out of a hole in the ice with one paw.
- They are both curious animals and scavengers when hungry from fasting during the summer months. They’ve been known to consume garbage when encountering humans including hazardous substances for example: Styrofoam, plastic, car batteries, ethylene glycol, hydraulic fluid, and motor oil. The dump in Churchill, Manitoba was closed in 2006 to protect the bears and waste is now recycled or transported to Thompson, Manitoba.
- Polar bears have been known to tear the doors and windshields from cars and trucks as well as tear windows out of cabins.
- In Churchill, Manitoba people leave their vehicles unlocked so that anyone being chased by a bear during bear season (Oct-Nov) can jump in for their own safety.
- Windows on public buildings in Churchill are frequently barred on the outside for the same reason.
- Churchill Conservation Officers use large live traps the size of six-foot wide culverts baited with seal meat on the town perimeter to try to trap bears before they enter the town limits. Bears are then taken to “Polar Bear Jail” which was a military barracks. When it was decommissioned it was made over into a holding facility for the bears. They’re held without food till the sea ice is strong enough and then flown by helicopter northward and let off at least 100 kilometres away.
If you’d like to learn more about polar bears, and even track some of them as they cross the sea ice, you can check out Polar Bears International at: https://polarbearsinternational.org. They keep a live camera going in Churchill, Manitoba during October/November every year when up to 300 bears go through town on their way out to Hudson Bay for the winter. Mark it on your calendar now! It’s worth watching nature’s reality television. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about nature’s largest natural predator.
Reunions can be deadly.
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.
About the Author:
Laurie Wood is a military wife who’s lived across Canada and visited six of its ten provinces. She and her husband have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood, and their son and daughter are a wonderful blessing to their lives. Over the years, Laurie’s books have finaled in prestigious contests such as the Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis. Her family lives in central Canada with a menagerie of rescue dogs and cats. If the house were bigger, no doubt they’d have more.
2 thoughts on “National Polar Bear Day by Laurie Wood”
This is interesting. Did you know there are more polar bears than people in Svalbard, Norway? You’re not allowed to leave the settlement without a rifle or a guide who has a rifle. They have attacks every year, I believe. Anyway, thought this was very interesting! Thanks for sharing!
Fascinating polar bear facts, Laurie. They can swim longer…and run faster… than I would have imagined. Northern Deception gives great descriptions of what life is like in polar bear country. Happy National Polar Bear Day to you!