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Do Polar Bears Like Coke?

Posted April. 04, 2005 23:35,   


The symbol of North Pole is the polar bear.

Many have come to us requesting answers to questions regarding polar bears. Inquiries range from: “Is it true that polar bears do not excrete in the winter?” and “are their coats truly as white and soft as snow?” to far-fetched questions such as, “Do bears really like Coke like in TV commercials?”

We get envious remarks like, “You’re lucky to see polar bears face-to-face,” but over one month into the Arctic regions, we have not yet met a single polar bear.

Getting impatient, we asked a famous Inuit (the name locals call themselves, instead of Eskimos) bear hunter in the village, Aliasuk Idlut (51), “Can’t we see polar bears?” He replied, “There are starving bears who frequently ransack the garbage in the village. There must be plenty of food this year because they haven’t visited the village once,” and also implored of us, “Don’t roam around alone, as it’s extremely dangerous when bears come to the village.”

According to research conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), worldwide polar bear distribution reaches around 22,000. Canada is home to the largest number of these bears, with a population of approximately 13,000. They are designated a protected species and hunting polar bears is strictly regulated, with 115 bears allocated for the hunting quota this year in Nunavut, located in the northern extremes of Canada.

Idlut gave us the inside scoop on the characteristics of polar bears. Female polar bears are stationary in their ice caves in January, busy with birthing cubs. Obviously, they do not excrete in this period. The male, however, freely hunts, eats, and excretes.

The fur of polar bears is like snow when born, but yellows and grows as coarse and stiff as plastic straws as they mature. Polar bears also delight in sweet foods. So there would be no reason for them to refuse Coke.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com