Un-bear-able: Polar Bears Struggle Through Climate Change

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Un-bear-able: Polar Bears Struggle Through Climate Change

Carylin Rivera, Reporter

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NEWSROOM- Change in global and regional climate patterns are occurring more rapidly than ever before.  

“The global average temperature today is about 15 degrees celsius”, according to BBC News.

As the earth’s temperatures are rising in Antarctica, polar bears have been surviving off of the carcasses of stranded whales.

“This resource will likely not be enough to sustain most bear populations in the future when the Arctic becomes ice-free in summers, which is likely to occur by 2040 due to climate change.” [quote from Science Daily]

Whale carcasses are not as sufficient a diet for the polar bears as seals are because not enough are dying in order to fulfill the need for the bears to eat.

“Present-day whale populations are much smaller due to past human exploitation, and recent human activity in the region such as shipping, coastal communities and offshore industrial [activities]”, according to Science Daily.

According to a study held at the University of Washington, during ice-free summer months, a theoretical population of 1,000 polar bears would need to eat about eight whales, and during the springtime feast in which the bears eat more, about 20 whales would be needed to satisfy the same 1,000 bears.

Whales in the Arctic do not die as regularly as they may in other seas, such as the Chukchi Sea near Alaska, and it is not always certain that the carcasses will float to the top of the water or drift to land that is accessible to the polar bears.

Climate change is one of the main threats to polar bear populations because they are an ice-dependent species.  With less ice in the arctic each year the population continues to decline.  Between 2001-2010 there has been a 40 percent population decline from 1,500 bears to 900 in northeastern Alaska and northwest territories [according to World Wildlife Fund].  Margaret Williams, Managing Director of World Wildlife Funds Arctic program, said,

“We need to change course if we want to stop further habitat loss and ensure resilient wildlife populations, both in the Arctic and around the world.”

There are many simple ways in which we can all help to put a stop to climate change.  It should not be the sole responsibility of big organizations.  Save energy, unplug electronics when you’re not using them, carpool when you need to get to the same place as someone else, buy organic or locally grown food as often as possible, and don’t waste it.


Story by Carylin Rivera, Reporter

Edited by Ted Frascella, Editor in Chief

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