The loss of sea ice habitat is the biggest threat to the survival of polar bears.
Polar bears spend the majority of their lives on sea ice. They depend on the ice to:
- provide a platform from which to hunt seals, whose thick layers of blubber provide energy for survival
Climate change has made the sea ice season shorter which decreased the amount of time bears can hunt for their prey. Sea ice break-up keeps these bears on shore. This forces them to spend the summer without significant feeding, relying on their fat stores from the previous summer to survive.
Many polar bears now suffer from malnutrition and others face starvation, especially females with cubs. Polar bear populations in Canada’s Hudson Bay have declined by 22 percent since the 1990s and researchers predict up to 73 percent of pregnant females in this population could fail to bring their cubs to term, given current and anticipated sea ice conditions.
Find out more about the threats to the beautiful and charming polar bear.
Visit the source: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/polarbear/threats.html
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Posted by Paisley Mizin (with thanks to MiaSnow for the excellent Polar Bears)