18 October 2009
My two favourite animals are inhabitants of opposite poles.
Polar Bears. They will eat you if you’re not careful, but they are truly majestic creatures.
When I travelled through the High Arctic in August 2007, I saw three. The best was the second encounter on an ice flow in North Baffin Bay. It was spitting snow and quite cold, but sitting in our Zodiac, we were oblivious to it.
Because, in front of us, was a site that few humans have ever seen. A polar bear in his habitat. The experts with us kept us 30 yards away, because the bear could make a leap at us if we were closer.
A shark will eat you thinking you are a seal. A Polar Bear will eat you, thinking you are a tasty human. Something to remember if you’re ever in the Arctic. We always stayed close to someone with a gun that shot tranquilliser darts, stun grenades and as an extreme last resort, real bullets.
The bears live and hunt on the ice. As it disappears in the Arctic, they may vanish as well.
My other favourite animal lives at the bottom of the world instead of the top.
Emperor Penguins. Aptenodytes forsteri
Most people do not realise they stand about one meter high! I have never seen one in it’s habitat. They live only in Antarctica. I am working very hard to visit an Emperor Colony at the bottom of the world, and soon!
The Emperor’s truly have to rate among natures most beautiful creatures. The Emperors in particular are incredibly adapted to living in the harshest climate on the planet. The Polar Bears of the Arctic live a positively balmy lifestyle compared to the life in Antarctica.
The South pole is much colder than the North Pole. The warmest temp ever recorded at the South Pole is 7F. The warmest temp. ever recorded in Antarctica is 59F or 10C. That was at the edge of the continent. Normally it rarely reaches much above freezing anywhere.
There is a fabulous video on you tube of some Orca’s chasing a penguin in Antarctica. Just when you think the Penguin has had it. He makes a daring escape! It’s called ONE LUCKY PENGUIN.
You have to see the video!