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The polar bear is perhaps the most iconic animal of the ice, but it's not the only one worth learning about

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Narwhals are whales, set apart by their unicorn-like horns, which are actually tusks. They make some of the deepest dives of all sea mammals, reaching depths of 1,500 metres.

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Walruses are slow and clumsy on land – adult males can weigh up to 2,000 kilograms – but fast in the water.

Ralph Lee Hopkins/Lindblad Expeditions

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Several species of seal live in the Arctic (this is a bearded seal). They spend much of their lives in the water, but use the sea ice to give birth and raise their pups.

Ralph Lee Hopkins/Lindblad Expeditions

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The polar bear, or Nanook in Inuit, is king of the Arctic. Male bears can grow to be 2.4 metres (eight feet) tall and weigh as much as 815 kilograms (1,800) pounds.

Ralph Lee Hopkins/Lindblad Expeditions

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Some of the 17 whale species that call the Arctic home reside their year-round, including the bowhead (shown here). Others, such as the humpback, migrate as much as 25,000 kilomtres in search of warmer waters.

Michael S. Nolan/Lindblad Expeditions

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Caribou are a vital food source for people living in the North. The World Wildlife Fund puts the value in Canada alone at more than $100-million a year.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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The modern muskox can trace its roots back more than 200 million years. Its ancestors crossed the Bering Land Bridge to North America.

Javier Alvarez/The Canadian Press

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Most snowy owls spend their lives north of the 60 parallel. But some venture south; a number of have spotted in Ottawa this winter.

Don MacKinnon

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