Polar Bear Social Structure
Social Structure of Polar Bears
The social structure for Polar Bears is very loose and still under investigation. Since they don’t live in groups it is harder to identify their normal behaviors. They seem to have their own distinct personalities as well. For example some Polar Bears that are observed will continually show signs of aggression.
Polar Bears aren’t territorial but they are very cautious about their surroundings. They tend to move away from a problem than to confront it. This includes humans as well as other types of bears or even other Polar Bears. Most of the adults are very isolated from each other. Since they move long distances though it isn’t uncommon for them to come into contact with each other.
During these meetings they can show a variety of behaviors. For example some of them will play for hours and seem to really enjoy being with each other. However, there are many Polar Bears that are indifferent to the appearance of another unless it is time for mating. There is evidence to indicate that sometimes they just crave companionship. There are pictures of Polar Bears sleeping close to each other and it is believed that is for interaction as they don’t need each other to keep warm.
A huge difference from other species of bears is that male Polar Bears are known to create strong bonds with each other. They don’t live together but when they meet up with one that they already know they will show friendly communications to each other. Even if they don’t come into contact again for a very long time that friendship will still linger. All other types of bears are very territorial so they show aggression when other males are around.
All of the Polar Bear cubs are very playful from the start. They also engage in fun and games that prepare them for their roles in life later on. The male cubs instinctively wrestle and fight with each other. These are important skills that they will need when it comes time for them to mate down the road. These cubs can remain with their mother for about 2 or 3 years.
There is some social structure for these cubs after they are weaned in many instances. Since cubs are usually born in pairs, they tend to stick together for a while after they leave their mother. They will continue to play together and even to hunt together. It isn’t known if this process is done for interaction, for survival, or a combination of the two. Eventually though these cubs will go their own ways.
There are many questions that still remain about the social structure of Polar Bears. A great deal of the information that is collected in captivity such as zoos though is very different from what goes on in the wild. Even in a zoo setting though where there are two or more Polar Bears, you will likely see them in different areas minding their own business. On other days though you will see them playing and interacting with each other.
Some past theories have been discredited based on the information we have today when it comes to the social structure of Polar Bears. We now realize that they are very intelligent animals. They aren’t out there wondering around on the ice with no particular place to go. They also aren’t influenced in their movements by the tides which was long believed to be true. Instead they are driven by instinct for survival to find food and for them to engage in the level of social interaction that works for them.