Photographer's Note

The ringed seal was more than he could eat. The male polar bear stood, blood still on the corners of his mouth, and briefly showed his black tongue. Then he lay down to nap nearby the carcass.

Shot in the archipelago of Svalbard, this polar bear was one of 32 we watched.

Ringed seals are the favorite food of the 25 to 30 thousand in the Arctic. Naturalists believe that this population will decrease by 30% within the next 30 years.

All of the polar bear's skin is black, even his tongue and the soles of his feet. Dark skin is believed to help the bears keep warm. A 4 - 6" layer of blubber also helps to retain heat. In fact, polar bears are in more danger of overheating than freezing. During the Arctic summer, the bears frequently move into icy ocean water just to cool off.

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