While they look very cuddly, some people make the argument to fear the polar bear. Indeed, polar bears can be very dangerous.
Bears wandering into town are common, and people keep their doors unlocked so that people being cornered or chased by a bear have a way to get to safety. Locals carry guns if the bears are about, and I saw what looked to be a few spent shotgun shells on the beach, since that is the route they tend to come from.
In hindsight I expect the shells were from “slugs” not pellets, when one starts to consider what it would take to actually stop a polar bear. However cans of bear spray are also seen in buildings, are actually is more effective and easier to use. Spray is significantly better for the bear, and perhaps for people too, as if you are not a good shot with a gun, you might fail to stop the bear coming for you. Then of course, the bear will have some extra fat and protein for its diet, so perhaps a very good outcome for the bear, but not so much for you.
Lucky people can count on the fact that only one to three people die this way annually around the world, however with increasing bear-human interactions the trend in this regard is not particularly good.
A classic polar bear move, often associated with feeding!
Polar bears know how to use their weight to maximum effect, and this is typical behaviour while hunting and feeding. The bear will hold its arms straight and bounce down on the ice in order to fracture it and break through to any seals underneath.
First nations peoples of the north obviously have had a long relationship with polar bears, and the bears are highly respected due to the strength, intelligence and persistence/determination of the animals. Most certainly they know it is not wise to disrespect a polar bear, and they have their own survival traditions and knowledge in that regard.
I am ashamed to say that my country (Canada) allows the trophy hunting of Polar Bears, so if you enjoyed these photographs of polar bears, please join me and sign the petition against trophy hunting of Polar Bears!