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Who doesn’t love a good local legend? When we heard about the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear, we couldn’t wait to start researching it. Reading about the encounters believers claim to have experienced provides a fun way to pass the time.
Today, we’re diving in to discover the truth about this furry beast. Is the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear real? Let’s dive in and see!
What Is the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear?
Because of its remote location and massive size, much of Alaska has been shrouded in mystery. Additionally, less than a million people live in the state, giving creatures of all kinds, including the elusive Alaskan Giant Polar Bear, lots of open space to roam.
This cryptic creature is similar to a typical polar bear but much larger. These creamy-white creatures have fierce personalities and have supposedly been spotted in Greenland, Alberta, and Quebec. Additionally, there’s a legend that one made the trip to London.
This urban legend grows each year as more adventurers head out into the Alaskan wilderness. Unfortunately, a small percentage of these individuals never return. Did the rough and rugged terrain get them? Or could it be the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear? We may never know!
Do Polar Bears Live in Alaska?
Alaska has three species of bears, one of which is polar bears. However, they typically spend most of the year in the northern part of the state. During winter, they migrate south but usually don’t go south of St. Lawrence Island.
The polar bears in Alaska can grow eight to 10 feet long and weigh between 400 to 700 pounds for females and 600 to 1200 pounds for males. However, the largest known males were upwards of 1700 pounds.
While you may picture bright white coats, polar bears’ fur actually ranges from off-white to yellowish. You also don’t want to let your guard down around them. They’re much more aggressive than the popular polar bears that star in the Coca-Cola ads.
Do Polar Bears Hunt Humans?
Seals make up the largest portion of a polar bear’s diet. However, they have attacked and killed humans. These attacks happen sporadically but can and do happen. You never know what to expect from a hungry animal.
A 2017 study from The Wildlife Society gathered data from 1870 to 2014 and found only 73 human attacks from wild polar bears. Of these 73 attacks, 20 resulted in a human fatality. During these attacks, there were also 63 human injuries.
Polar Bear Safety Tips
If you are preparing to enter an area known for having polar bears and want to stay safe, you need to prepare yourself. Let’s take a look at what you can do to protect yourself from these animals!
Keep Your Distance
If you spot a polar bear, keep your distance. Do not attempt to get closer or approach the animal. They may look soft, cuddly, and good-natured, but they’re not. They’ll tear into you so fast you won’t see it coming.
Use a pair of binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens. These give you a fantastic view of these wild beasts in their natural habitat while allowing you to stay a safe distance away. There’s no picture or view worth compromising your safety.
Despite their enormous size, polar bears blend in nicely with their surroundings. You must pay attention and look for signs of their presence. Look for tracks or unusual movements and listen for any sounds. We suggest you swiftly vacate the area if you stumble upon a fresh kill.
Don’t go into their territory unprepared. Being proactive and remaining alert helps ensure your safety and the well-being of the bears.
Keep in Mind: Are you planning to spend time in the bear country? Make sure you know how to Bear Aware!
Carry Bear Deterrents
Before heading out for an adventure in polar bear country, you better ensure you have bear deterrents. Air horns, a pistol, and bear bangers can scare polar bears away from you.
Additionally, some people choose to carry pepper spray. However, it’s essential to remember that pepper spray doesn’t work well in cold climates.
Some areas have strict rules about carrying protection to prevent polar bear attacks. Due to the dangers, they may require someone in a group to carry a firearm in areas with larger populations of these beasts. If you want to stay safe, ensure you have the proper gear.
Travel in Groups
Traveling in groups also helps people stay safe from polar bears. Staying together in a large group makes you more intimidating to animals. They’ll likely seek cover instead of attempting to attack. If you encounter wildlife, spread out to confuse the animal.
Traveling in groups also makes carrying more equipment and gear easier. Everyone should have something to contribute to help maximize the group’s safety. If you encounter a polar bear, everyone needs to know what to do.
Most bears don’t want anything to do with humans. If they hear humans, they’ll do whatever they can to avoid them. Wear bells, talk, or sing your favorite song. The last thing you want to do is surprise a polar bear.
Traveling in a group makes it easy to make noise. You’re naturally going to be talking with one another and having conversations. The noise your group creates will likely serve as an additional deterrent for polar bears.
Keep in Mind: Should you be worried about a bear breaking into your RV? Let’s find out!
Store Food Properly
Polar bears have a sense of smell that’s hundreds of times stronger than humans. They can smell their next meal from miles away. As a result, you must store food properly. If possible, use bear-resistant containers. They’re strong enough to keep your food safe and away from bears.
You should never store food anywhere near where you’re sleeping. The last thing you want is a curious bear entering your campsite at night. Hang your food at least 15 feet off the ground and 10 feet from the tree trunk. You want it upwind of your camping spot so it doesn’t attract a bear to your campsite.
Should You Worry About the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear?
While the threat of encountering the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear remains low, it doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Alaska is a harsh environment that can swallow up anyone unprepared.
Make sure you carry the proper protection and take steps to maximize your safety while exploring. This is one of those situations where it’s better to over-prepare than find yourself unprepared.
Have you ever encountered the Alaskan Giant Polar Bear?