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Polar Bears in Svalbard 2016-10-30T08:33:23+00:00

Polar Bears

Natives of the Arctic

The archipelago of Svalbard is situated between Norway and the North Pole in the Barents Sea. Svalbard’s main island is called Spitsbergen and it’s where Longyearbyen, the main settlement, is located. It is the northernmost town in the world at 78 degrees north. There are no roads between Longyearbyen and the other settlements, so the only was to get around in Svalbard is with snowmobiles, helicopters, boats, and, occasionally, dog sleds. Over 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers and it can be very rough to get around even in the summer. The terrain offers an incredible landscape with icy mountains and glacier walls, as well as wildlife encounters such as polar bears, reindeers, beluga whales, arctic foxes, walruses, bearded seals, and puffins.

The population of Polar Bears in Svalbard can be larger than humans, depending on the ice sheets. Scientists believe there is a population of over 3000 Polar Bears around the Barents Sea area . The Polar Bears are one of the largest carnivores on land and move around Svalbard, Greenland, Siberia, Franz Joseph Land, and Canada, all while walking on the ice sheets. Polar Bears feed mainly on ringed and bearded seals. Depending upon their location, they also eat harp and hooded seals and scavenge on carcasses of beluga whales, walruses, blue whales, and minke whales.

Due to Svalbard’s extreme location, Svalbard remains in complete darkness 24 hours a day from November until February. That’s when the northern lights take over the sky, creating one of the most beautiful sceneries on Earth. Eventually, the sun rises again in February and from April until August, Svalbard has daylight for 24 hours a day, otherwise known as the midnight sun. Throughout the seasons, the temperature generally stays as one would expect of the area, but much warmer than most areas on the same latitude. However, things can get quite extreme on Svalbard as temperatures can reach up to -30 degrees in the winter and winds up to 85km/h.

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