Photograph of the week: Polar bear in Svalbard

Polar bears, unlike their brown bear cousins, are active year-round, though they will often fast through the Summer months when restricted to land by the melting ice shelf. During the height of their feeding season an adult male bear can weigh up to 700kgs and measure up to 3 metres in length, making them the largest living species of land predator. Here a polar bear leaps across the ice floes in the Svalbard archipelago, north of Norway. Although they are powerful swimmers, they prefer to stay dry and travel across the ice wherever possible.

polar bear on the arctic ice, Spitsbergen

Thank you to Chris McLennan of Chris McLennan Photography for permission to reproduce the image.

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Comments (4)

  1. Kerwin says:

    Did that ice just give way once he plunged? Geez!
    Impressive photo though. I wonder how close he got to the bear?

  2. I guess that like to stay dry because that fur would take a long time to dry :) Great action shot though

  3. Anna Parker says:

    I remember the BBC documentary a few years back on polar bears that had the snow cams that followed them around – I loved learning about these bears. Dangerous, but super gorgeous too!

  4. Andy says:

    Beautiful but indeed very dangerous these guys. I’m planning a trip to Svalbard later this year, it sounds a fascinating place with a bit of a wild west mentality. Not sure I want to get that close to a bear though – but I’m sure he has a nice big lens on his camera for safety’s sake :-)

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