Ordinary Bears

Polar Bear







“Free Coca Cola Polar Bear from buying 3 8-pk 12oz classic coke” by stupid systemus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Learning Objectives

What students should take from this chapter

  • What you need to know about polar bears
  • Polar bears in culture
  • The commercialization of polar bears (they love Coke!)


Polar Bears

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is a large bear, approximately the same size as the omnivorous Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi).

Polar Bears in Culture

There are plenty of stories that circulate among the people of the Arctic involving the Polar Bears. These stories have been passed down from generation to generation. They view the Polar Bear as a mystic creature that is very spiritual in nature. It is one of the animals they show the most admiration for among their culture today. Some of these stories talk about the Polar Bears covering their noses with their paws while hunting.

This is just part of such stories though as there isn’t any research or observations of Polar Bears to prove it. In fact, there are many stories and legends that involve people being Polar Bears in the form of their human souls. As a result, you will see that many cultures have quite a bit of respect for these grand creatures.

A terrific family film is called the Golden Compass. It is a screenplay that has been based on a best selling Novel by the same name. One of the constant themes is that human souls are alive in the animals in the world. One of the animals portrayed in the movie and the novel is the Polar Bear. Of course these Polar Bears take on a historical look too because they are to be from the past, before the complete evolution actually occurred. This is a very good point for the author to make, and it does work very well within this particular story line.

Children love stories that contain animals, and you will find quite a few of them at lower age levels. Many of them also have great graphics for them to look at as you read them the story. Polar bears are portrayed as fun creatures, and you can’t help but smile when you see the photos of the cubs playing.

The Arctic Tale which was released in 2007 is a great observation of a Polar Bear and her cubs. It offers real life experiences for the entire family to enjoy. It is well done by National Geographic. The story starts out with the young cubs and follows them until they are 10 years of age. As you watch them grow and interact, you see first hand the parenting styles of these animals. You also see how the climate changes affect their ability to survive due to the food source being scarce.

Of course there are also those films and stories out there that portray Polar Bears as mean and aggressive meat eating animals. These are very loosely based on facts instead of actual events or behaviors of these bears. Sadly, this is the form of them that so many people seem to have stuck in their minds. As a result they aren’t concerned at all that the Polar Bear may one day be extinct.

There is no shortage of materials out there in popular culture relating to the Polar Bear. They including books, documentaries, cartoons, and films. Exploring them is a great way to entertain yourself as well as to see more about Polar Bears. It is important though to remember that some of these materials are based on fact while others are based on fiction. Realizing where that line is will help to ensure you don’t walk away with misconceptions about the Polar Bear.

The Commercialization of the Polar Bear Image

One of the most popular images of Polar Bears in popular culture has to do with the soft drink Coca Cola. In many of their commercials around Christmas time they portray a Polar Bear family having fun on the ice and drinking the soda. Many viewers love the younger Polar bears in them and can’t help but smiling as they think of them.


Key Takeaways

Polar bears are awesome! and cool!



  1. Find 3 photos of polar bears.
  2. Find what to do if you run into a polar bear.
  3. Do polar bears play the drums?


Media Attributions


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A Guide to Bears Copyright © by Toronto Metropolitan University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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