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What Polar bears are both legendary hunters–10 feet tall, 1,700 pounds, and able to sniff out prey from 40 miles away–and impressive survivors that employ a four-inch layer of blubber and two layers of fur to weather the subzero temps of their icy Arctic habitat. The carnivores stalk seals on the frozen waters of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Scandinavia; some populations then come ashore for a period of fasting in late summer when melting ice robs them of their hunting platforms.
Where Wapusk National Park, Canada. One of the world’s largest polar bear denning areas lies within this snowy park (also a Northern Lights hotspot), where as many as 900 bears roam when Hudson Bay thaws. In March, visitors can spy mothers emerging with their three-month-old cubs. Guides and snowmobiles are required to access the rugged terrain (which makes sense for all–the carnivores can sprint at 30 mph); Wat’chee Lodge leads trips to the den sites.