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The Polar Bear “Melting Glacier” The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a hypercarnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the largest extant bear species, as well as the largest extant land carnivore. A boar (adult male) weighs around 770–1,540 lb, while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is the sister species of the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals, which make up most of its diet. Most polar bears are born on land but they spend most of their time on the sea ice. Their scientific name means "maritime bear" and derives from this fact. Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. Because of their dependence on the sea ice, polar bears are classified as marine mammals. By 2040, scientists predict that only a fringe of ice will remain in Northeast Canada and Northern Greenland due to global warming. This "Last Ice Area" is likely to become important for polar bears and other life that depends on ice. A projection of sea ice in the archipelago, supported by WWF, shows that much of the region is facing significant ice loss in the coming decades - with potentially serious consequences for polar bears. Global polar bear numbers are projected to decline by 30% by 2050.
The Tiger “Playing Solitude” The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orangebrown fur with a lighter underside. It is an apex predator, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and wild boar. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat, which support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years, before they become independent and leave their mother's home range to establish their own. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their historic range and have been extirpated from Western and Central Asia, the islands of Java and Bali, and in large areas of Southeast and South Asia and China. Today, the tiger's range is fragmented, stretching from Siberian temperate forests to subtropical and tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent and Sumatra. The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals, with most of the populations living in small isolated pockets. India currently hosts the largest tiger population. Major reasons for population decline are habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. Tigers are also victims of human–wildlife conflict, particularly in range countries with a high human population density.
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Gay Freeborn: As a painter I have been searching, as we all do, for that which touches my heart. I have painted all of my life; from childhood horses, college figure drawing to images of those in distress, sad people, beautiful people, dogs and their people. I began breeding Labrador Retrievers on my farm in Maine and watching them, noticing their curves, their motion and their devotion, finally I have found an urgency to my brushstrokes that were not evident before. Using oils on canvas as my medium, I portray the dog with love for the animal as my driving force. The space that surrounds the subject is as important as the figure itself as they swirl, sit, sleep or stare back at me from the light engulfing them. The Dog, unconditional and unpretentious sits at my feet as I paint and I don't think I could ask for anything more.