In such strange and sad times the hits at Phoenix Ark, after a blog about a Polar Bear attack got almost as many as the Norwegian, Anders Breivik. Well, you can’t control what people want to read about. The tragic case of the 17 year old Horation Chapple on Svarlsbad was exceptional, and the Polar Bear in question was shot and killed by their guide, who was himself badly injured.

Last time we blogged it, we talked of the needed respect of and even fear of wild nature. So crowded in on now, on a planet of ever expanding populations, that faces great and sometimes seemingly impossible paradoxes between the human and the animal. In fact, after spending an imaginative two years with Polar Bears, writing Scream of the White Bear, the founder is well acquainted with those remarkable animals, used as a ‘Flag Ship’ species, to attract interest to their own plight, in what is really a problem of biospheres, on a World scale. Though, apart from the Polar Bears that he used to see in London Zoo as a boy, a real inspiration was the sad and neurotic pair in Central Park Zoo in New York, one of which recently died. They are the largest carnivores on earth, and with such keen senses of smell and such fearlessness too, extremely dangerous. Which is why the inhabitants of Churchill, in Canada, the ‘polar bear capital of the world’, face regular problems with them coming into town.

For those who like their animals in happier stories though, we pointed to the great polar bear in Phillip Pulman’s sparkling trilogy, that begins withNorthern Lights, also partly set on Svarlsbad. How the story, brilliantly woven between real and fictional worlds, plays with the ideas of almost Jungian archetypes, and in the flow between ‘male’ and ‘female’ energy, and the changing animas of childhood growth and creativity, the bear who loses his honour and his armour finds his strength restored, thanks to the courage and love of brave Lyra Silvertongue. The pact between the two of them is enchanting. They are the most wonderful stories, and we recommend them to anyone.

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Filed under Books, Childrens Books, Environment

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