2008 Photo Contest, Nature, 3rd prize

Paul Nicklen

National Geographic

01 January, 2005

A female polar bear and her cub rest on an ice floe after a swim. The bears are not tied to a specific territory, but roam widely in their search for food, often leapfrogging from iceberg to iceberg. Bears fitted with satellite collars have been tracked on swims of up to 240km across open oceans. In some habitats, disappearing sea ice is forcing polar bears to make longer, riskier swims. Ice is the very essence of the ecosystem of the Artic. Sea ice - frozen seawater that moves with the ocean currents - provides an important habitat and resting place for many animals. In recent years satellite pictures show a dramatic reduction in Artic ice cover, which reached a record low in 2007. Many attribute the situation to global warming.

About the photographer

Paul Nicklen

As a young boy, Paul Nicklen, a Canadian-born polar specialist and marine biologist, moved to Baffin Island and spent his childhood among the Inuit people. From them he learned t...

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