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International Polar Bear Day is celebrated every 27 February to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear.
In honour of this occasion, wildlife guide, photographer and presenter Paul Goldstein has brought together his favourite images of the majestic predator.
Wimbledon-based Paul, who guides for Exodus, explains: "Polar bears are in danger of becoming an anachronism, a fading apex predator that suffers more and more as the sea ice melts earlier each year."
Highlights of over a decade of sightings include a mother and cubs sitting on an iceberg, an adult attempting to catch tasty birds on a cliff face and a little cub appearing to wave.
Paul has been leading charters to Spitsbergen for twelve years on small ice-rated research vessels.
Spitsbergen has 24 hours of daylight in June and July and he has spent hundreds of nights on watch searching for an ivory blob against a white icy canvas deep in the sea ice.
"To find one on a cobalt blue icy platform miles from any coastline knowing your quiet ship is the only one around is as close to the wildlife grail as you can get", he said.
A polar bear cub is guided along whale bones used as stepping stones.
There's a steep learning curve in this balancing act.
"Seeing cubs is perhaps the greatest reward of all, proving that, for now, their bloodline is relatively safe," he added.
Goldstein has seen their habitat diminish in the years he has been leading expeditions up beyond the Arctic Circle with glaciers retreating more than a kilometre.
Polar bears need fast ice to hunt on. They need to be feeding on seals the moment they come out of hibernation.
Their hunting success rate is probably at least ten times worse than lions so when the solid platforms and pans are replaced by fractured fields they suffer.
There are also more insidious reasons for their suffering as pollutants that enter the food chain at the bottom of the food chain are now affecting the top as the bears genetic order is compromised.
"Will this stop me going North, of course not, it is still perhaps the most exciting wilderness area in the world with glaciers, huge bird colonies, foxes, walrus and of course bears," said Goldstein.
"Each time one materialises in my binoculars I feel the old familiar narcotic course through my veins. I am not sure there is a cure," he went on to say.
Paul Goldstein works for adventure travel specialists Exodus.
Next June and July (2016) he and zoologist and TV presenter Mark Carwardine are taking two special charters North in search of polar bears.