6. Physical environment living on the ice .pklifescience.com/staticfiles/articles/imag Polar bears need to conserve body heat so they have small ears to reduce their heat loss through their body. They have thick fur and a layer a blubber to keep them warm. They also use the blubber to store energy that they use in the winter. Their white fur provides camouflage and insulation. Their paws are designed to help with traction on the ice and to help them swim.