One of the most worrisome consequences of global warming is the extinction of polar bears. There is evidence that the polar bear population has been decreasing over the past ten years. They live in the Arctic, which is melting at a considerable rate. According to the US Geological Survey, more than half the polar bear population will disappear by 2050. This species has been on earth longer than humans have, and much of their decline is caused by humans and global warming.
Effects of Global Warming for Polar Bears
The retreat of ice makes land less accessible for these animals. The water gap between ice sheets increases, making it difficult for them to swim from shore to ice and back again. Many polar bears end up drowning. If a mother bear drowns during a hunt, her cubs will die of starvation. The retreating and melting sheets of ice cause rougher seas, creating a very hazardous environment for all animals, but particularly for polar bears.
Bears that survive the rougher seas still face a serious threat, the decline of prey since other animals are also dying out. In Hudson Bay, Canada, polar bears live on land during the summer. In the fall, when the ice freezes, they come out to hunt. However, in the last twenty years, the ice-free period has increased by nearly three weeks. This means bears have to wait up to an extra twenty-one days to hunt. When they finally get a chance to hunt, they are finding less prey due to global warming affecting other species. Mothers are supposed to teach their cubs how to hunt, but if food is scarce, she wont be able to do so adequately for them to survive after shes gone.
Global Warming and Polar Bears Status
The status of polar bears is alarming. They are an endangered species, primarily due to the decline of their habitat. If we dont take immediate action to reduce global warming to save polar bears, they will become extinct within a century. It was recently announced that Northern Manitobas population is going to vanish by 2040 because there are not enough polar bears for a sustainable breeding population.
Unfortunately, Canada doesnt currently have any significant plans to protect its polar bears. It took the US government a long time to list polar bears as threatened, but at least they are now finally receiving protection in Alaska. In Canada, the Committee of the Status of Endangered Wildlife has labeled the species only as a special concern, and not deserving of extra protection.
Solutions for Global Warming and Polar Bears
There are many actions that regular people can make to fight global warming in order to help polar bears. There are petitions available online. We can write our leaders and demand action. We can also take steps in reducing the effects of global warming by adapting to green living. Refusing to buy gas sends a message to the oil industry, and opting for products made out of recycled items sends a message to the logging industry. Burning fossil fuels and deforestation are two of the largest contributors to global warming, and the only way to send a message is by not spending money on oil and logging corporations.