Polar bears are land predators known to make the ice and sea of the Arctic a primary habitat.  Not only are they well equipped for survival in a harsh environment, but they are also known to have paws adapted for walking on the sea ice and swimming in the sea.

They rely solely on the Arctic part of the world to live, travel and hunt ringed seals that live at the ice edge, mate and rest.

Over the years, these beautiful creatures are beginning to lose themselves due to the rapidly increasing rate of sea ice loss. Not only has this sea ice loss caused them to lose their vital habitat, but it has also affected their ability to find food for survival.

Fate Of Polar Bears Is Mainly Dependent On Climate Change

It has been stated that the subsequent fate of polar bears is mainly dependent on climate change. The conservation status studies of the polar bear reveal that continuous ice loss, which is a result of the rising temperature means little or no access to seals.

The studies further revealed that this rising temperature has continued to hinder reproduction, nourishment of bear cubs and unstable maternity den.

These, in turn, have resulted in the depletion of the body condition and average weight of older bears.For new polar bear cubs, most do not survive and few cubs that do tend to be smaller in size.

Hence, Scientists have stated that polar bears will face a bleak future if the temperature keeps rising.

The report in Baffin Bay also concludes that “It is reasonable to predict further changes in this subpopulation including an ultimate decline in abundance.”

Polar Bears Result To Cannibalism During Food Scarcity

According to the Russian Researcher at Moscow’s Severtsov Institute of Problems of Ecology and Evolution, Mordvintsev, “cases of cannibalism among polar bears are a long-established fact but we are worried that such cases used to be found rarely while now they are recorded quite often.”

Although cannibalism is not unknown amongst sea bears, climate change melting Arctic ice as well as fossil fuel extraction on their habitat has led to food scarcity thus causing polar bears to resort to eating each other.

Although they are mainly known to eat seal fat, they have now resulted in eating just anything as a result of food scarcity; whether it’s their kind or not.

Ilya Mordvintsev has also stated that sea bear cannibalism is now distressingly rampant unlike a few years ago where it was rarely frequent.

In a bid to know why these creatures are beginning to result in cannibalism, Mordvintsev suggested that the act of the sea bears should be blamed on food scarcity.

When asked, Daily reports stated that ice levels in the Arctic have decreased by 40% in the last 25years, thus making it difficult for the polar bears to hunt seals to feed and survive.   

In previous years, polar bears are known to use sea ice for hunting seals in Arctic waters but the increasing lack of ice to stand on has caused them to forcefully move to the shore where they are left with no other choice than to eat themselves.

“In some seasons, there is not enough food, and large males attack females with cubs while mothers attack their babies,” Mordvintsev stated.

Mining Activities Has Also Threatened The Survival Of Polar Bears

Researchers have found that regional job growth, asides climate change has also contributed to this change in surviving skills.

In his explanations, Mordvintsev stated that the growing number of oil workers and defence ministry employees had done more harm to the bears.

A few winters ago, polar bears could happily hunt from the Gulf of Ob to the Barents Sea, but all of that is fast becoming an act of the past as the route has now become a popular shipping route for ships transporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

While attributing the environmental change to active and consistent gas extraction, Mordvintsev added, “The Gulf of Ob was always a hunting ground for the polar bear.

Now it has broken ice all year round.” The researcher believes that gas extraction alongside the launch of the LNG plant is a significant disturbance to the environment and a major cause of climate change.

Despite the concern of researchers like Mordvintsev, it’s so sad that his countrymen are quite active in causing the depletion.

Amongst the counties actively involved in the exportation of global oil and gas, Russia is known to be a key participant. The country’s strategic role in exportation has led to its eagerness to expand its LNG activities in the Arctic.

Vladimir Sokolov, another Russian scientist who has led various expeditions with the Arctic and Antarctica Research Institute and is based in St Petersburg, has also mentioned that these polar bears have been hugely affected by the unusually warm weather on Spitsbergen Island in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago.

According to him, that region has almost lost the typical presence of ice and snow due to the rise in temperature. If the fossil fuel industry continues to thrust into these untapped areas, polar bears may go into extinction sooner than expected.

Just like other researchers, Sokolov has kept a close eye on the number of polar bears leaving to seek refuge and survival in another cold region.

People are therefore left to wonder what will happen in another 25 years if the Arctic ice levels have experienced a 40% fall in the past 25 years.

As a result of the increase in emigration, Vladimir believes that these polar bears, which will inevitably be forced to leave for the shorelines, will soon be a thing of the past.

Currently, polar bears are fighting growing temperatures, melting ice, food scarcity and human activity. As regards human activity in the Arctic, there has been various troubling incidents.

A few months ago, an exhausted and dying polar bear was found searching for food while wandering through the Arctic Settlement of Novaya Zemlya.

Upon seeing the polar bear, people began to panic so much that the authorities had to declare a state of emergency.

While humans could easily declare a state, it’s so sad that the bear cannot declare its state as that of an emergency. 

Exhausted and dying polar bears wander in search of food.

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