Originally published on
by Subhankar Bhattacharjee at Nature Talkies
The unabated global warming and the melting Arctic sea ice can result in the extinction of Polar years in the near-century, say the scientists. Meanwhile, studies show that all the 19 subpopulations of polar bears have experienced ice loss over the current times.
If not taken charge, the situation would worsen, forcing the animals to walk towards the lands and away from their food supplies. Whereafter, prolonged fasting and mothers failing to nurse their cubs will result in drastic declines in reproduction and survival of the polar bears.
Impact of global warming on polar bears
Global warming has led to the rise in the Arctic’s temperature, which is twice as fast as the global average. And as a result of this, the sea ice cover is seen diluting by four percent every decade.
Following a 2018 study providing the metabolic analysis of the species, it is found that the animals’ caloric needs are 60 percent greater than the one formerly believed. And they burn out nearly 12,325 calories every day. In order to sustain this need, their diet consists of calorie-rich food as that of ringed and bearded seals, whose population is likewise declining with the loss of sea ice.
When the land-fast sea ice melts, it compels polar bears back to the lands where they don’t get any access to seals. In the seals’ scarcity, the animals are known to hunt for caribou and whale carcasses washed ashore, which does not fulfill their caloric needs. Hereafter the polar bears begin to fast, struggling to maintain a healthy weight for their survival.
The disturbing factors
The consequences of global warming and conditions of sea ice levels are different in different Arctic regions. And not all polar bear populations are to respond the same way. In the Western Hudson Bay and Southern Beaufort Sea, the past or present decline in the Polar bear populations is directly associated with the loss of sea-ice.
However, moving elsewhere, other factors including shipping, hunting, tourism, oil and gas activities, prey availability tends to determine the lesser or greater extents affecting the subpopulation trends. This further complicates the picture and calls for a matter of concern.
Ways to reduce the impact of global warming on polar bears
There’s a lot we can contribute to saving polar bears and other endangered species from extinction. One of the significant causes of intense sea-ice loss and polar bear decline is global warming. Hence the solution lies in curtailing the abruptly rising temperature of the earth.
Concerning this, here are a few steps you can take to help reduce global warming:
- Equip your home with renewable energy resources.
- Opt for a fuel-efficient vehicle or better encourage carpooling and use of public transports.
- Recycle waste and adopt responsible consumption practices.
- Promote better use of natural resources, preventing deforestation, and massive use of fossil fuels.
The most important factor to work upon in order to improve the long-term survival of polar bear populations is reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. This is also to stabilize the Arctic sea ice levels to secure the polar bear habitats.
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