How Is A Drastic Change in Climate Affecting Polar Bears?
Climate change is a serious problem that many do not take seriously. It is far more real than we think. We really need to control things that are the root causes of climate change. Otherwise, we will have to face serious consequences. Climate change is not only affecting the human population. The trees, plants, birds, animals, everything around us is deeply affected by it somehow.
The taste of the wild has been changed due to daily climate changes. Thus, this has drastically affected the animals in the Arctic region. Polar bears are suffering from a major food and land crisis. Due to the melting snow, they have nowhere to live. It is an alarming situation worldwide.
Climate Change Is Driving Polar Bears Towards Extinction
Polar bears were once widely seen in the vast land of the Arctic regions. However, global warming, landsliding, and other climatic conditions have caused polar bears to die over the past centuries. Now, they are on the verge of extinction. As a result, polar bears might become nearly extinct at the end of the century.
Even if we change our lifestyle and practice precautionary measures, we will still lose some of the bears. However, it is better late than never. We need to practice strict measures to protect their habitat and food so that these amazing creatures can live longer. Here is how climate change affects polar bears.
1. Rapid Decline In The Sea Ice Of The Area
The sea ice in the colder regions tends to melt in summers and freeze in winters. However, this is not the case right now. The sea ice has shown drastic melting as the regions have warmed rapidly over the past few decades.
Some parts of the Arctic that previously had ice year-round now have ice-free periods in summer. Other parts are now free of ice for a longer portion of the year than in the past. Thus, the warm climate has forced the ice in the Arctic to melt at a rapid rate.
Polar bears conserve energy by travelling less. However, when they have to travel to find a suitable place to live, they lose their energy. This eventually results in exhaustion or death. Reduction in their habitat has led to the reduced population as well.
2. Significant Reduction In Their Food
Another important thing to note is that polar bears have significantly reduced food supply. Other animals of the arctic are dying off as well giving less options for polar bears to hunt.
The lower levels of sea ice means there are fewer places for polar bears to hunt for the seals they like to eat. Polar bears might not find their prey and as a result, die of starvation. Moreover, pregnant bears require more food than usual.
If they do not receive enough food, pregnant females and their unborn cubs will die. However, the extended fasting period with less stored body fat may also contribute to their decline.
Animals need food to survive throughout the year. You’ll find more information about polar bear feeding and the food they like to eat here.
3. Low Survival Rates
The pregnant females tend to leave their living areas during ice break-ups and remain separated during summers. In order to endure the summer before they can return to sea ice to feed, females need to have built up sufficient fat stores to sustain themselves for at least 8 months.
However, they might find difficulty in obtaining sufficient fat while staying in low-density areas. This will eventually lead to cubs with low survival rates and impaired immunity.
Due to lower energy and fat stores in the body, they might not be able to survive in the womb. Thus, malnourished polar bears tend to have fewer and weaker cubs.
The Bottom Line:
The future of polar bears is highly endangered because of climate change.
Due to reducing areas of ice, polar bears either have no land to live or do not find any mate. Therefore, this leads to a lower population of polar bears across the arctic region.
They are considered endangered according to WHO. If we do not save them today, we might study them in history books only. There is an urgent need to protect and save these wild animals from becoming extinct.
However, regulations and initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions and other harmful chemicals in the atmosphere could help prevent further ice loss and save those species from extinction.
Let’s all work together to help to save the polar bears!