Polar Bears and Global Warming
Climate Change and Polar Bears
Polar Bears have been severely affected by climate change, and researchers are worried that if global warming continues with past patterns then their numbers are going to continue to drop. We all know too well that the temperatures continue to climb year after year too due to global warming, and the efforts to stop it haven’t been effective yet.
Polar Bears only live in the Arctic region where they walk around on the thick layers of ice. As this ice starts to melt, their natural habitat is being destroyed with no way of getting it back. The only exceptions are those that are in captivity in zoos where the temperatures are warmer. While they can reside there, they aren’t in the wild trying to fend for themselves.
Such climate changes also affect the food source for the Polar Bears. They depend on the various species of seals out there as their main source of food. As these seals have to move to find their own food, the Polar Bears find that they have less to live on as well. Another problem is that the Polar Bears are moving too in order to find food and a habitat that they are happy with. This has led many of them to locations too close to humans for either to be comfortable.
There is no question that Polar Bears would be able to adapt to warmer climates. The problem though is that they would also have to change what they feed upon. This is going to definitely upset the balance of the food chain out there. It is also going to alter the ability of many of the Polar Bears to survive. While evolution is possible, it won’t be without the loss of large numbers as only the strongest will survive.
What researchers have found to be a huge problem for many Polar Bears is the changes in the ice mass. They are used to walking along it to get from land to the water again. What can occur is that while Polar Bears are on land the ice formation that they took to get there can melt or break off. As a result they may end up being stranded on a piece of land. Should there not be sufficient food there, they may not be able to survive.
Polar Bears need the colder weather too for them to be comfortable. When you see them in the Arctic weather you may feel sorry for them. However, there is no need to because they become too warm when their bodies reach only 50 degrees Fahrenheit. With the overall temperature of the Arctic region increasing annually be a few degrees many experts have reason to be concerned about this for the overall future of the Polar Bears.
In fact there is a greater chance of a Polar Bear dying from overheating than there is of freezing even though the temperatures in the Arctic waters are often well below zero. Their bodies are designed to handle the extreme cold but not the extreme heat. In fact, it is often hard to determine the cause of death for a Polar Bear. The chance to examine their remains is virtually non existent. However, many researchers have a theory that their bodies functions are shut down or severely damaged by the heat and that can cause an early death in many instances.
Sadly, it is estimated that if the climate changes continue as they are, all of the Polar Bears will be extinct in less than 100 years. That is a very grim outlook and that means action needs to be taken now to protect their natural environment.