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Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1554551552
ISBN-10: 1554551552
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With this book - the best ever to be written about polar bears - we are blessed with the opportunity to benefit from Ian Stirling's extensive knowledge and life-long experience with this magnificent animal.
"He shows us that the far North is not a barren and hostile environment, but unique and beautiful. The new knowledge presented in this book is crucial for conservation and management of Arctic nature and its polar bears.
"Read Ian Stirling's book, admire the pictures and enjoy."
-Dr. Thor S. Larsen. Founding member of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and former Head of Biology Department and Director of Research at the Norwegian Polar Institute

"For over thirty years now, whenever there is debate over polar bears, I have turned to Ian Stirling not just for definitive facts and figures, but for genuine wisdom and perspective. To work with Ian in the field is to experience a man entirely at home in the Arctic environment, not unlike the bears he knows so well".
-Monte Hummel, President Emeritus, WWF-Canada.

"Ian Stirling's groundbreaking studies of polar bears laid much of the foundation for both current research on the species and our present day understanding of them. No one can now look at these highly intelligent, threatened creatures without worrying about a world that could cause their possible extinction - and wondering how we have allowed it to come to this point. We must take action. As this book clearly illustrates, their loss would be our loss as well."
-- Robert Buchanan, President/CEO, Polar Bears International

About the Author

As a Research Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Ian Stirling has studied the behavior, population ecology, and predator-prey relationships of polar bears for 40 years, longer than anyone else in the world.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside; 1 edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554551552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554551552
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By alost VINE VOICE on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ian Stirling's "Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species" is considered by many to be the seminal reference book on polar bears. Although the product description and the copyright dates rather deceptively do not reflect this, this book published in 2010 is not an entirely new text, but rather is an updated version of Stirling's 1998 book Polar Bears. Some chapters have been expanded and some new chapters have been added in this release. The book features a host of new photographs as well.

Stirling, a Canadian research scientist, is regarded as one of the world's foremost polar bear authorities. In this text, he draws on his forty years of research as well as research by others to produce an in-depth examination of polar bears. Subjects covered include, among others, mating, denning, hunting, social interaction, physiology and habitat. Each topic is richly illustrated with photographs which show not only the beauty of these great animals and the environment in which they live, but the complexity of their lives and behaviors. The photographs alone could comprise a book worthy of praise, but Stirling couples these photographs with scientific-based, but comprehensible and engaging text. If I had to recommend only a single book on polar bears, this text would be it. I only wish the book had been released in hardback.

Other worthwhile books on polar bears include:

Nikita Ovsyanikov's
...Read more ›
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I got this book to read in preparation for a trip to Svalbard. I wasn't disappointed. It is a thorough background of polar bears, their habits, their history and an educated look at their future. It is well worth reading whether merely curious about the bears and their environment or interested in finding out what native peoples and scientists have learned over the years. You won't want to scan or skip any of it: it is that interesting and well written.
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What a wonderful book for a polar bear enthusiast such as myself. I would suggest reading to understand the history and future possibilities for the polar bears of the world. A beautiful collection of facts and feelings about these awesome animals.
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This is not the customary coffee table book with lots of neat photos of one of my favorite mammals. Rather, it also shows the blood, hunger and death by starvation that are all part of this species' life history. It has the broadest approach to this species I have ever come across, including such chapter titles as "the Origin of Polar Bears" (from Grizzlies, and still being able to cross breed), "Polar Bears and Humans", "What makes a Polar Bear Tick", "How do you study Polar Bears", "Some Highlights of Conservation, Past and Present", "The Future..." to just name a few.
A book essentially dealing with the arctic habitat in general, and polar bears in particular. Thus highly recommended for a much wider readership than just polar bear enthusiasts.
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I am a Polar Bear fanatic. I love this book because it covers the origins of Polar Bears, gives a lot of information on where the bear population is stable, where it is declining, a lot of interesting facts I did not already know - and best of all, unlike a TV show, if I think there will be something bad or sad happening, I can just skip to the next page! Pictures are great. My bucket list included seeing Polar Bears in the wild while there still bears to be seen.
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Book came in excellent condition. I just returned from a trip to the Arctic lead by the author, Ian Stirling, so it was especially meaningful. Written well with lots of detailed information on these fascinating creatures, their threatened habitat and great photographs.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a cross between a coffee table book and a textbook. It does accomplish its' goal in describing the history of polar bears in an interesting, understandable way, yet using terms, facts and figures with scientific precision.
It has a multitude of photographs, some showing bloodied carcasses being eaten or the bodies of dead creatures. Nothing is gory - just the realism of nature. There are charts and maps to show data. Comparisons are made between polar bears and grizzlies and hybrids. What comes through in a mind-boggling manner are the amazing hunting skills of the polar bear. We are witness to all aspects of its life.

Subjects covered are: present day numbers, the origins, polar bears and humans, what makes the bear tick, reproduction, behavior, hunting by the bears, life and death and a chapter on the polar bear capital of the world, conservation - past and present, environmental concerns, climate warming, the future. There is a glossary and an index.
This book is well researched and presented. My one complaint is that it is heavy and with the paperback cover, in time it seems as if that will tear away.
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