18 polar bears we think you need to see

Today is International Polar Bear Day, so join us in paying tribute to our favourite large, white and furry Arctic carnivores.

1. KNUT

We begin our journey with the original polar bear superstar, who captivated the hearts of the world during his all-too-short life in Berlin Zoo. He rose to stardom in 2007 as a cuddly cub, appearing on magazine covers, in a film and on mountains of merchandise. He died in 2011 after suffering from encephalitis.

Here's Knut making his first public appearance in 2007:

(Picture: Franka Bruns/AP)

During which he had a good old roll in the sand:

(Picture: Franka Bruns/AP)

Liked that? You'll love this adorable clip of Knut taking his first steps:

Here he is all grown up in 2009:

(Picture: Miguel Villagran/AP)

And here he is now. Stuffed and on display in a Berlin museum.

The museum has dismissed criticism of the decision to display Knut, saying it gives everyone an opportunity to see him, but we think it's an ignominious end for an animal icon.

2.CLARENCE THE BIRDSEYE BEAR

Is that… Willem Dafoe? thought the world in unison, when Clarence first appeared on our screens in 2010.

And yes. Yes it is Willem Dafoe, star of films such as Platoon, the Last Temptation of Christ and Spiderman.

3. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO HAS A LOT ON HIS MIND

(Picture: Martin Meissner/AP )

And would appreciate it if you'd just leave him alone while he's thinking.

4. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO'S LOVING LIFE

(Picture: Martin Meissner/AP)

Not. A. Care. In. The. World.

5. ARMOURED BEARS

Also known as panserbjørne, from the classic His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman.

Because the only things better than polar bears are polar bears that can talk and will take you on epic adventures.

6. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO THINKS HE'S AN ELEPHANT

(Picture: Jim Mone/AP )

Bears can play pretend, too.

7. THESE TWO CUBS IN A BASKET

(Picture: Frank Hormann/AP)

What's not to like?

8. THIS BEAR WHO JUST WANTS TO SAY HI

(Picture: Joerg Sarbach/AP)

How YOU doin'?

9. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO'S DECIDED TO BE PURPLE

(Picture: Walter Moreno-Los Andes/AP)

This is Pelusa, a bear in an Argentinian zoo who turned violet after veterinarians administered a drug to treat a skin infection. She turned back to her normal colour soon after.

10. THIS BEAR WHO'S MAKING A MOCKERY OF PROCEEDINGS

(Picture: Martin Meissner/AP )

If you're not going to take things seriously, then we are all just wasting our time.

11. THIS CUB WHOSE PAWS ARE COLD

(Picture: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

Luckily, there's a warm place to sit.

12. THIS POLAR BEAR IN HIS WILD, NATURAL HOME

(Picture: Greenpeace/Beltra )

Because this is where we want to see polar bears, not in zoos.

13. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO CAN'T QUITE HEAR YOU

(Picture: Patrick Gardin)

What? Speak up!

14. THIS POLAR BEAR WHO IS PHOTOBOMBING SANTA

(Picture: Lionel Cironneau/AP)

Polar bears: Doing things before they were even things.

15. THIS CUB WHO LOVES GETTING HIS HAIR BRUSHED

(Picture: Ralf Schedlbauer/AP)

"OMG that feels so good! I could totally just fall asleep right here…"

16. THE FOX'S GLACIER MINTS BEAR

(Picture via The Dabbler)

He's called Peppy and he's been around since 1922.

17. THESE POLAR BEARS WHO HAVEN'T SEEN EACH OTHER IN AGES

(Picture: Jim Schulz/AP)

"Dude! It's been, like… how long?"

"I know!"

18. THIS CUB WHO'S NICE AND SNUG

(Picture via @parkscanada on Twitter )

Follow @polarbears on Twitter or use the hashtag #polarbearday to find out more about International Polar Bear Day.

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