• A polar bear leaps across frozen ice sheets in the Hinlopen Strait, Svalbard, Norway. As an Arctic inhabitant, polar bears live in one of the coldest environments in the world and rely upon a thick insulated fur coat that covers a layer of fat to keep them warm. Even more fur covers their paws, giving them a firm grip on the ice and protection from rough surfaces. 

    Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, Lindblad Expeditions
  • A mother polar bear walks with her two cubs in Svalbard, Norway. These cubs will not stay small for long as they feed upon their mother’s rich milk and seal blubber. The cubs begin to eat solid food when they are three to four months old and by eight months, they might weigh over 99lbs (44.9kg).

    Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, Lindblad Expeditions
  • Adult Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) feeding on small fish and krill in Esbukta on Spitsbergen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. The Arctic tern makes one of the longest annual migrations of any animal on Earth, flying from the high Arctic all the way to Antarctica and back. This is perhaps as much as 40,000 kilometers in a single year.

    Photograph by Michael S. Nolan, Lindblad Expeditions
  • These Svalbard Reindeer bare thick antlers in Bellsund, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway. Female reindeer keep their antlers year-round, while male reindeer shed their antlers early in the winter.  

    Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, Lindblad Expeditions
  • This Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus), “sings” away in Hornsund, Svalbard, Norway. Bearded seals are extremely vocal animals and males' songs can be heard for up to 12 miles (19km).

    Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, Lindblad Expeditions
  • An adult male walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) shows off his tusks just off the beach at Poolepynten in Prins Karls Forland in the Svalbard Archipelago, Barents Sea, Norway. Male walrus tusks are larger than female tusks and are used for display and as weapons, usually in competition with other males.

    Photograph by Michael S. Nolan, Lindblad Expeditions
  • A walrus and young stick close together in Arctic Svalbard. Humans have hunted walruses for their ivory tusks, and also for meat, oil, and hides. Their only other predators are polar bears and killer whales.

    Photograph by Stewart Cohen, Lindblad Expeditions