Polar Bear

Inuktitut name - Nanuq (plural Nanuit)

Colour - white, sometimes yellowish; nose and foot pads black

Length - 2 to 2.5 metres (sometimes up to 3.5 metres), about 1 to 1.5 metres tall when walking

Shape - seemingly small head with long neck if in the water, it is the only white animal in the North with visible external ears

Behaviour - a carnivore that eats any animal it can catch and kill, from small whales to fish, although its primary food is seals; usually solitary or females with 1 or 2 young, which take as long as three years to learn how to hunt

Distribution - usually found where there are seals; lives on pack ice in fall and winter; often migrates to land in spring, where it wanders the coastlines, then returns to sea ice in fall; may be on fast ice year-round; sometimes seen swimming at considerable distance from land

Sensitivity - react to low flying aircraft, but unless chased, reactions are transitory; sensitivity to ships is given a low rating and they rarely encounter ships

Note - Inuit hunters highly prize the animal, and it is very important to the economies of most settlements.

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