Saturday, December 03, 2005

Get Up, Stand Up!

When I first found this image of a robust specimen of Ursus maritimus on the web, the title of the photo caught my attention: "standing crane," which sounds like a Tai Chi position. Indeed, this alert creature seems downright zen in his posture and position. But the "crane" is actually NOAA researcher Kathy Crane, the "standing" is self evident, and the image is one of many of these magnificent, endangered creatures available from the Polar Bear Photo Gallery.

We know all is not well in the polar bear world. Being at the top of the food chain at the top of the world, they bio-accumulate toxins that are carried into their environs from thousands of miles away. Melting sea ice-- and the prospect of Arctic summers free of ice by the end of the 21st Century do not bode well for the future of the sea bear.

In theory, being of the Brown Bear family, polar bears could, if push comes to shove, mate with their kin, Kodiak, Griz and other Ursus arctos, and keep the lineage alive.


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