Saturday, March 15, 2008

Canada Wildlife Stamp - Polar Bear

The Canadian Arctic is home to one of the most beautiful mammals, as well as one of the most deadly, on the face of the earth -- the polar bear.

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are the largest meat-eating mammal on the planet. Their diet consists primarily of seals, for which they are expert hunters, although they have been known to feast on other animals including birds, baby walrus, and even other bears.

Polar bears are found in the Arctic and the area in which they live include parts of five countries surrounding the North Pole: Russian, Greenland, United States (Alaska), Norway, and Canada. There are no polar bears in Antarctica.

Polar bears are uniquely adapted to live on land and in sea. Their fur and fat deposits form a thick insulation protecting them from their icy environments. They are excellent swimmers; a few have been seen swimming as far as 50 miles from ice or land.

The fur of a polar bear is hollow, and forms in two layers on the skin, which makes for an excellent layer of insulation from the cold. The skin of the polar bear is actually black, but the hollow hair shafts that make up the fur makes the bear look white.

Because polar bears are a prominent symbol of the region, Canada Post issued a polar stamp as part of their wildlife definitive series. The stamp, like the others in the series, is large in format, and is engraved.

The stamp was engraved by master engraver, Martin Mörck. He is a well-known and well-respected engraver who is rapidly rising to the top of his craft. This is the only stamp that he has done for Canada Post; most of his work is for Scandinavian countries.

Like all stamps of Canada, the stamp is bi-lingual, with the caption Polar Bear appearing in English, and Ours Blanc appearing as its French equivalent.

The stamp is denominated as $2 (CDN), so it can be purchased at a very reasonable price.

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