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Wonderful World 20: Cooler Climes

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A few month ago very dear old friends of mine, now living back in their native New Zealand., took a cruise with friends. What’s so wonderful about that? Everyone is doing it. Well, not to the the place to which they cruised! They flew to South America and from the city of Buenos Aires took a cruise ship to the South Pole!!! Know anyone who has done that? I thought they were a bit balmy doing that but they have traveled so extensively in their lives, having lived in more than 10 countries, it seemed like something they still hadn’t done so they packed their parkas and off they went. When they returned they called me and told me all about it although, I have to say, there wasn’t a great deal to tell. What they saw was ice, more ice, water and more water, and penguins by the thousands. They never mentioned Polar Bears and, it turns out, there are no Polar Bears in the South Pole. Polar Bears all call the Northern Polar Regions their home. Anyway, this inspired me to do a page for the catalog on these odd residents who live at the top and bottom of our planet.

A. The Emperor Penguin Box. This is the largest member of the species. It generally stands at 45 inches and weighs between 55 and 90 pounds. It is one of only three members of the species that has color other than black and white, sometimes sporting orange and /or yellow tufts on the head, neck and breast. Notice that this male is protecting his tiny offspring. The Emperor Penguin male is the guardian of the young for the most part and the female spends her time acquiring food for her offspring. This is rather unusual but it appears to be dictated by the vulnerability of the young. The female walks sometimes as much as 100 miles back to the ocean to forage for food for her young. One of the interesting things about this strange bird is that it always returns to its nest of the previous year and unless death has overtaken the male the female mates again with her previous partner. An interesting bird whose physical appearance is so amusing and so charming that one tends to think of them as comedic. Here the male and his young are standing together on a slab of ice with water around it. The clasp is a fish and inside the box is a drawing of another fish. Our price: $176.90.

B. The Polar Bear Boxes. A huge animal weighing up to 1600 pounds and standing 5 feet tall at the shoulder, the Polar Bear is one very dangerous animal. They have no natural predators and they do not fear humans! They look cuddly but don’t be fooled by appearances. One swipe with a paw can be deadly. Although their coat is white, the skin underneath it is black and it absorbs the heat of the sun which their body stores. They are excellent swimmers and feed on seals. As well they have been known to kill whales! That should tell you a little something about how fierce they are.

B1. The Standing Polar Bear. Standing on an ice floe and peering into the water looking for food. He has spotted a fish, you can see the head, and he is peering down at it. Inside, an igloo, painted and the clasp is crossed arrows. Our price: $159.90.

B2: The Sitting Polar Bear Box. Sitting on his haunches this fine specimen seems to be a young bear, considerably smaller than a full grown animal. Notice that they sit a bit differently than other animals do; they do not need their forepaws to support them but sit upright without other support. Inside a painting of an igloo and the clasp is his quarry, a fish. Our price: $161.90.

C. The Seal Sunning Himself Box. Ensconced on rocks this fellow is enjoying a bit of respite from the sea. His head raised, he is aware of something --perhaps an approaching bear. I have always thought that seals are some sort of a throwback to prehistoric times. They are so strange looking, so completely different than other inhabitants of the land or sea. Their flippers appear to almost have evolved from hands. Certainly except for others of the same genus, they are quite different than all other sea creatures. This one, by the way, is an earless seal. (There are two types, earless and eared. I didn’t know that until I did a bit of research and I bet you didn’t either.) Seals are what Polar Bears feed on and they are common to the Pacific Ocean. Inside, a jumping fish, painted, his food. The clasp is a shell. Retail: About $147.00. Our price: $132.90.

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