1998-03-18: The Great White Bear, Lord of the Ice
Ice Island - Have you ever seen a polar bear up close? I mean really close? Have you ever watched with fascination as it attacks and kills a walrus? The blood runs out over the snow filled land and turns the beautiful powdery white to a deadly shade of pink.
The polar bear is one of the most majestic creatures to walk the land of Britannia. It can be extremely cute and cuddly at times. It can be the most dangerous animal you've ever seen. It depends on your perspective. And how lucky you are when you run into one.
Polar bears have been known to destroy entire generations of walrus, their primary source of food. They have also been known to kill larger animals, like the snow leapord, when food runs scarce. They've even been known to attack humans, as was seen at the Festival of the Ivory Tusk. But this was a polar bear taken out of it's environment. One who was scared and angry at being moved to a place that it did not understand or recognize. One whose entire world had been displaced.
But this is not the polar bear that is frequently found near the Shrine of Honesty on Ice Island. These are bears who have been attacked or hurt. Bears who have been pushed into a corner by starvation, or the deplorable fact that we as men push them to the edge of their own land by building our homes in every available place. Polar bears are often friendly, some would even say cuddly. It's undeniably “cute” they way they scratch their underbellies with their back paws. Or the way they will playfully run alongside the water's edge, splashing themselves with the cool liquid of the icy sea.
Remember that the Polar Bear is a part of nature, and as such, we cannot hunt these poor things to extinction. They are a part of the natural chain of life on Britannia, and should be treated with the respect that they deserve.
Merlan Parkings is a ranger whose main interest is in the study of flora and fauna throughout the land of Britannia, future columns by Lord Parkings will include tropical birds, harpies, and alligators.