LORDS OF THE ARCTIC: A Journey Among the Polar Bears by Richard C. Davids

LORDS OF THE ARCTIC: A Journey Among the Polar Bears

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A polar bear miscellany, pegged on the splendid color photos Guravich took during the five years he and Davids spent in the Arctic. These, however, are presented separate from the text--where we have a review of polar bears in history, reports of recent research findings, accounts of experiences with the bears, and an update on international protective efforts. At its best, the book is informative and evocative. We learn of the distinct polar bear populations in five nations--Canada, Norway, Denmark (Greenland), the USSR, and the US (Alaska)--and of how the bears maintain themselves on the constant ice drift. Polar bears and Eskimos, we see, hunt seals alike. Perhaps ""the early Eskimos learned to hunt by watching bears""; in any case, evidence of bear intelligence abounds. Having come to associate helicopters with tranquilizing guns, ""they have learned to conceal themselves from above."" Humans on the ground, however, don't daunt them. On perennial polar bear questions--hibernation, socializing, maternity dens (akin to igloos), aggressiveness--much new information is cited, often substantiated by the photos. On ""His Companion, the Eskimo,"" some readers will part company with Davids--who combines affectionate recollections of past Eskimo harmony with denunciations of ""lawyers, posing as friends, [who] have taught them a litany of grievances."" Later chapters--on old-time and modern hunting, recent research and conservation techniques--tend to be diffuse. Still, unmatched photos of the bears--exchanging greetings, mock-fighting, nuzzling--are a strong inducement to Know All.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan