Wednesday is International Polar Bear Day, an unofficial holiday
that is gaining increasing attention as more and more people become
worried about the future of this unique species.
Nobody seems to know how Polar Bear Day got started, but it has
strong connections to the Alaska
Zoo in Anchorage and to
Polar Bears International, which is leading an enthusiastic
campaign to curb global warming and reduce the loss of sea ice,
which may be the greatest threat to polar bears.
The campaign goes by the name Save Our Sea Ice! or just SOS!.
this bulletin board created by first and second graders at
Carpathia School in Winnipeg.
In searching for amusing material, I came to realize that polar
bears and penguins have developed an amazing friendship — at least
in cartoons and amusing videos.
The examples are numerous, and I’ll share some of my favorites
with you now:
1. A dancing bear who has moved in with a penguin angers the
bird with his wasteful use of water. This video was produced for
Environment Agency UK. (Click on the video player at right. And, of
course, the “full screen” version is available.)
2. Apparently, a male polar bear can develop a close
cross-species relationship with a female penguin, but he’d better
watch what he says. The second video on this page is from 4Mations,
another UK website dedicated to interesting and funny cartoons.
4. Who can forget the Coke commercial in
which the polar bear family accidentally invades a Christmas party
being held by a large group of penguins?
5. Here’s one called “Cold Friendship,”
but I have to admit that its subtle message runs a little too deep
for me to locate.
6. Animal Planet’s series called “Animals Save the
Planet” includes a cartoon about the benefits of energy-saving
light bulbs. I’m not sure if the penguin is a slave or just enjoys
a lot of exercise.
7. Someone put a couple of wildlife videos together to
demonstrate the different
lifestyles of penguins and polar bears. (By the way, I’ve heard
that polar bears crawl along thin ice to reduce the risk of
While I enjoy all this paring of polar bears and penguins, I
have to wonder how they ever got together. Polar bears live in the
Arctic on the top side of the world, while penguins live in the
Antarctic on the bottom.
Cartoonist Dave Farley has his own vision about what would
happen if these two species ever got together. See cartoon at
right. Check out Dave’s complete archive of cartoons at the
Now on a more serious note, an online magazine called “Beyond Penguins and Polar
Bears” has been written for elementary school teachers who wish
to integrate science and literature. It’s a good place for anyone
to learn about the polar regions of the Earth. According to the
website’s creators, the first step toward understanding the two
poles is to
“develop a sense of place,” realizing that the Arctic and
Antarctic are very different environments.