Polar Bear at Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam (Holland)
The Polar Bear, as "King of the Lonely Polar Wasteland", inhabits the northern shores of Europe, Asia, and America, as well as the pack-ice of the Arctic Ocean. Its water-repellent fur and a fat layer under the skin offer protection against the cold. Polar bears are skilled and untiring swimmers and divers. They can swim long stretches at an average speed of 5 km/h (about 3 mph). The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations in decline. For decades, large scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species but populations rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect. Polar bears were first bred in a Zoo in 1919.