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 May 14, 2008, Polar bears are now on the threatened species list due to global warming.

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Released from the Wilderness Society posted by NewsBlaze.comNovember 17, 2009

Oil spills in the arctic contaminate the water as well as harm wildlife.  Each year, an average of 450 oil and other toxic spills occur on Alaska's North Slope as a result of oil and gas activity.  These harmful spills disrupt the natural habitat of many animals, including the polar bear.  Oil on a polar bears fur, even a small amount can result in death of the polar bear.  Oil spills disrupt the dens of mother polar bears, and can cause the pups to die.  Oil development activities have disturbed polar bears from maternity dens. With sea ice loss, more polar bears are expected to den onshore, thus increasing the likelihood of human-bear interactions and impacts similar to those observed with grizzly bears.

 

Release from the Canadian Press July 6, 2009

The Polar Bear Specialist Group, which tracks groups of polar bears has made a discovery.  The Polar Bear Specialist Group states that of the 19 polar bear populations, eight of them are now in decline.  Which is up three more groups since 2005.  Currently there are only 3 groups that are considered stable, where as in 2005, 5 groups were considered to be stable.  The Polar Bear Specialist Group stated that only one polar bear population is increasing, and 7 groups are undetermined, as there is not enough information for scientists to draw conclusions from.

The cause of these population decreases is not something new.  It is something that has been happening for the last few years.  The disappearance of sea ice.  Without the sea ice, the polar bears have no platform to hunt for seals.  

Some polar bears have been weighed, and the results are devastating.  Not only are the females now measuring and weighing less, there is evidence that the life expectancy of polar bears is decreasing.  Older polar bears and young polar bears have an even slimmer chance of survival due to the disappearance of the ice. 

 

Polar bears are once again in the news. A study done in December 2008 states that the vulnerable polar bear population could survive the effects of climate change and the population could continue to grow if the the great polar bears switch a their greatest food source.  Currently polar bears rely mainly on seals for food, however, if the polar bears switch to eggs, they may survive.

There are many snow geese nests along the Hudson Bay shoreline.  If the polar bears switch to eggs, then during the warmer temperatures, when it is hard for polar bears to hunt for food on the ice, they can  search along the coastal shore lines, where the birds nest.

As the date for spring break up advances, polar bears are coming to shore a lot sooner, therefore, they have not had the same amount of time to hunt for ringed seal.  Having less food in them, they have lower energy, and this makes it difficult for survival.  Typically it is the younger bears that are coming to shore sooner.  They are beginning to arrive when the nesting snow geese still occupy the shores.   This allows the still hungry and low energy polar bears to regain some energy.

The geese eggs are energy rich, but the polar bears need to be at the shore when the birds are there.  Eating the eggs will also depend on each polar bear and its foraging behaviours.  Polar bears will still have to have some other food source, as they will not be able to survive on eggs alone.  Bird eggs are not normally a main part of a polar bears diet, however, they may become an important part.

 

 

 

Fun Facts About Polar Bears

 

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Updated November 18, 2009

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