The Arctic is an unforgiving land of ice and snow, and at first glance, it seems like a desolate place to be. But a small subset of animals, including gray wolves, polar bears, and snowy owls call it their home.
For polar bears, which are listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, it’s survival of the fittest. Polar bear moms do everything they can to help their cubs learn the ropes of life before eventually abandoning them after just over two years.
Polar bear cubs are born incredibly small, but they grow up fast. The smallest cubs rely quite heavily on their mother’s ability to keep them warm and to protect them from natural predators, such as gray wolves. A mother polar bear can quite easily fend off a single gray wolf, but if a pack were to come along, it’d be easy for the two to get separated.
After a polar bear cub is abandoned by its mother, it will fend for itself going forward. This includes scavenging for food, evading predatory wolves, and ensuring its own survival. In this video, National Geographic goes on an expedition to film the beautiful moments of a polar bear cub’s introduction to life.