The polar bear has become the symbol of the plight of animals in the face of global warming. A new report appears to reaffirm the plight of these incredible animals. A study in the Ecological Applications journal reports that the number of polar bears in eastern Alaska and western Canada has declined by 40%. Perhaps the most unnerving disclosure is that just two of 80 polar bear cubs that the international team tracked between 2003 and 2007 have survived.
The numbers are staggering. The bear population in the area shrank to about 900 in 2010, down from about 1,600 in 2004.
Polar bears serve as a tragic type of canary in a cage for climatologists charting the progress of global warming. The news is obviously not good for them or for us.
The bears rely on ice flows and seal populations to survive. The distance at which they are required to swim has now gotten longer and more painful according to scientists. In one case, a mother had to swim nine days and 426 miles — resulting in her loss of 22% of her body weight. Her cub died.
There was a bear stabilization between 2008-2010 due to unusual oceanographic conditions and other conditions. However, experts now predict that more than two-thirds of the world’s polar bear subpopulations could be extinct by 2050.
Source: LA Times