Decline in Polar Bear Habitat
By: Kamaya Hayes
Summary. Studies have shown that the most prominent reason of habitat loss is climate change. Due to that, there has been a 40% decline in polar bears at the Southern Beaufort Sea. Nearly all of the 19 sub populations of polar bears from the Beaufort sea to the Siberian Arctic, would face being wiped out because of the loss of sea ice. With more sea ice melting each year the bears are forced onto land, away from their food supply. Ice melting can lead to prolonged fast and reduced nursing of cubs by mother. Also, the mothers not being able to eat properly can cause them to be underweight. Being underweight leads to less cubs being born and the ones that are born are much smaller than usual. Some of the polar bears remain on the ice year round, but most areas are melting in the spring and summer, which forces them ashore as well. As the regions warm, ice in the summer has declined by about 13 percent per decade, compared to 1981-2010 averages. In 2010, 120 million acres of northern Alaska was declared as critical habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. Temperature in the Arctic is rising at least twice a week and sea ice coverage is diminishing by nearly four percent per decade. Polar bears could become nearly extinct by the end of the century due to shrinking of ice, if global warming continues. So as you can tell the polar bears are at a very vulnerable state.
Why we should care? I think you should care about this topic because animals homes are being destroyed. You should take into consideration as if it were your family losing their home. Also, climate change and global warming are effecting us everyday as well.
I found this topic interesting because i love animals. I think we should treat them with the same respect as we do each other. Animals have families just like us humans and the fact that we played a part in the decline is unsettling. So we should do everything we can to make matters better for them. There isn’t just one type of polar bear, there are several different bears that live numerous parts of the world and there all at a decline. So think its time we all try and figure out a solution to help the beautiful creatures.
Science in Action.
Dr. Andrew Derocher is a Professor of Biology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Dr. Andrew Derocher studies the Artic, polar bears, carnivores, ecology, behavior, and climate change. His current research interest are conservation, ecology, and management of large mammals (mainly polar bears). He currently asses the effects of climate change and toxic chemicals on polar bears. He believes his research is to improve ones understanding of large carnivores with specific reference to how they are affected by human activities. For over 38 years his focus has been on polar bears, but he is still invested in his other studies. His research is revenant to my topic because that’s what my summary is about. It’s about climate change and how it caused loss of polar bear habitat.
This is super sad to read about but also very interesting. I did my topic on the Siberian heat wave, so this is also relevant to my topic. As the temperatures in the Arctic (and everywhere) are getting warmer, many populations are losing their homes. Climate change is a huge problem, and it is hurting creatures that have done nothing to deserve it.
Reading articles like this make me think about how sad the state of our world is. Despite countless scientists airing their same worries to the public about habitat loss and climate change, little changes are made to preserve these beautiful areas and animals of our planet. Sometimes I wonder what Earth will look like in just ten years at the rate humans are destroying it. Although the article's gloomy nature, I believe this was very well written.
I have always paid close attention to the loss of habitat for polar bears. This was really unsettling to read because knowing that the global warming will continue, polar bears could ultimately become extinct. It was both sad and interesting to read how much habitat has actually been threatened and classified as 'critical habitat' for them.
This article was just another unfortunate reminder of the reality of climate change. It makes me sad that the average person would read this article, feel sympathetic for the polar bears, but move on with their life instead of wondering what they can do to reduce their footprint. After reading this, I once again am reflecting on ways I can contribute to reducing climate change through simple, everyday things in my life (ex. recycling, biking/walking, reusable items). The melting of the ice caps seems to be increasing in a downwards spiral, and I hope to join a project or an occupation in my future to help climate change.
It is quite sad to read that the biggest factor leading to the polar bear's population decline is from habitat lose. Returning lost habitats is harder to accomplish then other factors that lead to population decline like disease or competition for resources. Similar instances of habitat loss for animals occur around the world like in the Amazon or the Australian Outback. Besides the obvious of trying to prevent global warming from rising, humans should also look for ways to harvest and use natural resources that don't interrupt the habitats of the local wildlife living there.
Polar bears and so many other animals have been facing extreme forms of habitat loss for many years now, and it’s still so difficult to hear about. The fact that climate change has been growing so much worse and at such high rates is something I can’t fully comprehend, but I know for sure that it is something that worries me.
This blog post focuses on a very important issue, that climate change is creating habitat loss. It's a very heartbreaking topic to look into, to see how these poor polar bears are losing their homes and food sources all because of human actions. It is much easier to prevent habitat loss than it is to try and recreate habitats once they are lost. I hope that as a human race we are able to come together and realize what we are doing. Something will need to be done quickly because climate change is causing extremely rapid habitat loss.
Loss of sea ice is particularly difficult for those species who thrive in arctic environments. I was surprised to learn that sea ice is melting in the summer at the rate mentioned, about 13% rise decade over decade since the 80's. It is hard to imagine how much time there is left to bring this environment back, as melting of ice causes a release of heat, thus a feed back loop of increasing temperatures and melting ice. With such a drastic reduction in their habitat thus far and the current trajectory melting sea ice is on, it is not looking fare for these creatures. The extra layer of complication here is as these habitats deplete, these species do not have somewhere new to migrate to, unless they are particularly capable of acclimating and adapting to the changing environment. Very large creatures like polar bears will struggle. Unlike those who live further south and can continue pressing north as temperatures rise, those who thrive in the polar regions will be left without a habitat for themselves.
The article you summarized discusses one of the many species affected by climate change, sadly. Whether it is the polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea or the other species experiencing severe drought conditions on the other side of the earth, it is unfortunate to do very little or nothing in order to reverse these effects. I read an article yesterday that criticized the Endangered Species Act, which was mentioned in your summary. The article discussed how the act was too “idealistic” and explained how it is impossible to protect and save every endangered species. A more rational approach stated how we should prioritize saving more “significant” species rather than wasting energy on insignificant ones. However, polar bears are considered to greatly impact the marine environment and play a big role in the food chain as well. Unfortunately, all they need is sea ice and more favorable conditions to get off the list of endangered species. The article you summarized was a great choice to emphasize the serious impacts of global warming, by further demonstrating the risks these species face as a result. The birth defects and malformation that baby polar bears have to go through due to their mothers being malnourished and affected by the melting of ice is a very heartbreaking example of how our and other species’ descendants will most likely face the consequences of an issue we took part in. Many people may not care enough about polar bears, but the issue engulfs many other aspects that may shape our lives as well. All in all, the summary you wrote was well-written and included all the important details the audience needs to know regarding the issue.
Briana R Carlton
Regional declines in polar bear populations have been attributed to changing sea ice conditions, but with limited information on the causative mechanisms. It is within this article that we begin to learn polar bears could become extinct faster than was feared because of an increasing struggle to find enough food to survive as climate change transforms their environment. I think this article is a prime example of things we seem to forget about but make sense when we finally hear about it. Yet, when environmental activists finally have our attention its too late. Polar bear loss would be absolutely devastating to our ecosystem and there would be no way back.
Hey Kamaya! I really loved this presentation, this has actually been a topic of concern for me for a while and I believe it should be brought to attention more oftenly, and you did a great job bringing it to the surface. Polar bear extinction is very important because not only does it have to do with a decline of animals but also with severe issues relating to climate change that should be more focused upon by society.
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