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Polar bears are vanishing from the Canadian Arctic, commonly referred to as the polar bear capital of the world.
Source: Good Morning America/YouTube
Research from the government shows a dramatic decline in the number of polar bears in the western part of Hudson Bay on the southern tip of the Canadian Arctic. A recent government survey found a decline in the number of female bears and cubs in particular.
Every five years, researchers fly over the area to count the number of bears and extrapolate population trends, The Guardian reported.
The results of the last survey from late August and early September 2021 were released this month and show that they found 194 bears and, based on that, estimate a total population of 618, which is down 842 from five years prior. The study found “significant declines in the abundance of adult female and subadult bears between 2011 and 2021”.
“The observed declines are consistent with longstanding predictions regarding the demographic effects of climate change on polar bears,” the researchers said.
The researchers cited displacements to other regions as well as hunting as the possible reason for the population decline.
The ice habitat that the polar bears rely on has been disappearing at an extremely alarming rate. The Guardian reported that the far north of the planet is warming up to four times faster than the rest of the world. The ice is melting earlier and breaks up in the spring and freezes later in the fall than usual. Bears rely on this ice to hunt, move, and reproduce.
Recently, scientists published a report in the journal Oryx warning of the threat that trash poses to already vulnerable polar bear populations. Bears increasing reliance on landfills near northern communities for food has led to deadly conflicts with humans.
The problems of food conditioning in polar bears have been reported in all five polar bear range states, including the USA, Russia, Canada, Greenland, and Norway.
“As polar bears spend increasing amounts of time on land as a result of climate warming-driven sea-ice loss, the likelihood of them seeking anthropogenic food increases,” the report states.
The report says that polar bears are gathering around open dumps in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Consuming the garbage can make the bears sick, and they end up eating plastic and other materials that can cause death and block their intestines. There is also a concern about local wildlife managers killing the bears out of concern for public health.
Sign this petition to demand increased protection for vulnerable arctic polar bears!
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