Ursus Maritimus. Polar Bear.
by: Lieut. James Ross, R. N., F.L.S.
of the ship: Fury
William Parry Expedition, 1824
These animals were frequently met with on floating
fragmants of ice, both in Davis' Straight and Baffin's Bay, but none were
killed until after the arrival of the Expedition at Port Bowen. There they
visited the ships in considerable numbers, and in the course of the winter
and ensuing spring eleven were killed. Of these the males averaged 8 1/2
cwt., the females about 7 1/2 cwt., and the largest which was obtained
did not exceed 9 cwt. The very wonderful accounts of the the magnitude
of these animals, which some authors have given, appear extravagant and
exaggerated, when we observe that the largest of those which have been
met with in the course of the late voyages weighed less than 12 cwt., and
did not exceed 8 feet 9 inches in length.
That the gravid females alone hibernate, and that the
males and unimpregnated females wander about in the neighbourhood of the
clear water throughout the winter, has been so fully confirmed by the testimony
of the Esquimaux on the former, and our own expirience on the present voyage,
that no doubt can now remain on this interesting subject.
Source: Parry, William, Third
voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage, Philadelphia: H.
C. Carry and I. Lea, 1826, p.166
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