Hunter, Teacher, Mother


Being a mother in the Arctic is not an easy task. Polar bears mate in late spring, but amazingly pregnancy is delayed so that gestation will last into the winter.

The mother digs a maternity den in a snowdrift and soon gives birth to her cubs, often twins. Her milk is high in fat and the cubs grow very rapidly, leaving the darkness of the den in spring.

The mother then teaches her cubs about survival—catching seals, avoiding hungry male polar bears, using their incredibly powerful sense of smell. The mother bear will nurse them for a year and train them for 2 years before they’re out on their own.

Once independent, young polar bears must navigate the vast and vibrant landscape of the high north.

Field Report: Portrait of a Polar Bear Family

Meet Our Polar Bear Family

Walk in their footsteps at the top of the world

Polar Bear Family Life Series

The cubs step out of the den for their first days on the ice. Get Acquainted with our Furry Friends 4 videos:

Get Acquainted with our Furry Friends

Watch the cubs as they grow, play and learn from mom.

Secure the Cubs’ Future

Less and less polar bear cubs are surviving each year due to disappearing sea ice making it harder for polar bear moms to find food. You can help protect the polar bear’s future.

Help Protect the Arctic!