Polar bears. Many think of polar bears living in Antarctica as if they are living in a winter wonderland. Sadly this is not the case. Polar bears everywhere are on a daily struggle to survive. They have a shortage of ice time to hunt and fatten up for the winter. Because of the shortened ice time due to global warming polar bears are under more stress, starving, and dying. They are struggling over something they cannot control. Polar bears living more south, for example in the Hudson Bay region, are seeing these global effects first. We might not be able to control the constant threat of global warming, but we can help them.
We need to raise awareness and money for these poor defenseless animals. More specifically, polar bears in the Hudson Bay struggle everyday to survive; while many people are already trying to help, more needs to be done to ensure their survival. Polar bears are struggling for survival because of the absence of sea-ice, the limit of food, and global warming. “Between 1999 and 2009, the melt season Arctic-wide expanded by at least 20 days, according to a study published four years ago by a scientist from NASA and the national snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado,” (Spotts 2).
This shortens polar bears hunting season drastically. Hudson Bay which is one of the more southern regions of where polar bears live sees a more drastic version of the melting ice. They have seen the season grow by more than ten days per decade which is among the highest rates in the Arctic (Spotts 2). Residents who have lived near the area for their whole lives notice the changes. They call it the “furry invasion,” (Usha 2). Since polar bears mainly hunt during the winter months they are losing time for their preparation for their fasting time.
They are picky eaters. They love to eat seals. The only way to hunt these seals is by going on ice and jumping in the water to catch and eat the tasty meal. “According to an article about the struggle for survival for polar bears “Ice floes on the open serve as hunting platforms for the bears, whose winter diet of seals, snagged as they come up for air through breaks in the ice, builds the fat reserves polar bears need to survive on land during the sea-ice melt season,” (Spotts 1).
Animals should not change what they enjoy to eat just because of an issue like global warming. With the ice-free period gaining time polar bears need to hunt faster and more just to get ready for the summer. In the ice-free period they fast. Fasting is when you refrain from eating for a certain period of time. All of this longer ice-free season is due to a huge issue in our society. It is wreaking havoc everywhere. Global warming affects everything from overflowing rivers, loss of innocent species to animals, to habitats.
In a study published by the journal Ecology in 2010 they projected that if “Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning fossil fuel and from land-use changes take a businessas-usual path through the end of the century, global warming would lead “to drastic declines in the polar bear population by the end of the twenty first century,” (Spotts 3). Global warming causes the sea-ice to melt faster cutting polar bear hunting season down at an alarming rate. Polar bears are at the top of their ecosystem, so by studying the effects on them it shows how it is effecting everything else in its ecosystem.
Due to climate change polar bears are dealing with extra stress, starvation, and a decreasing population. Stress is mental or emotional strain on your mind. Polar bears are experiencing this emotional strain. Their extra stress is due to less time to hunt, poor conditions, and changes in their ability to reproduce. With global warming’s continuous trend to increase, polar bears hunting period has decreased. This causes polar bears to stress over trying to find enough food to eat before the ice melts away.
Another reason they are under more stress is because of their poorer conditions polar bears physical condition has become poorer in an article by Lindsay Towns she explains how polar bears need fat reserves to get through the summers, so since the ice is melting earlier when polar bears come ashore they come looking in terrible condition (5). Polar bear ability to reproduce has decreased. “Bears sows have had less time to pack on the roughly 450 extra pounds they need to sustain pregnancy and provide fat-rich milk to their cubs (Usha 3).
This causes unhealthy cubs who could die any day. Polar bears are also dealing with starvation. Even locals near Hudson Bay are noticing the changes in appearance. Dinus Tikivik, a hunter from the Nunavut capital, lqaluit savs “One 3-vear old bear had almost no fat on him,” (Usha 2). These polar bears are clearly not getting enough food in the winter to even out the . 8-. 9 kilograms of body mass they lose per day on land (Castro 1). They have started looking for food elsewhere like in the town dump (Usha 2). Some polar bears have even resorted to eating plants (New 1).
All of these effects of having starvation, stress, less time to hunt, and not being able to reproduce are causing a huge decrease in the polar bear population. In one study it predicts “mass polar bear starvation by 2068,” (New 1). This would cause polar bears to be extinct or completely lost like dinosaurs. Extinction is the major issue people are trying quickly to help prevent. As the extinction of polar bears is a real issue many people have already done things to try to help, whether it is worldwide, in a small town, or locally.
Worldwide the US Environmental Protection Agency put polar bears as an endangered species in May 2008 to help prevent hunting of them and to use them as an example of the ecological effects of global warming (spotts 2). In small town Detroit Lakes two sisters, Greta and Carly Fritz, started a clothing line called Arktikos to raise money and awareness to polar bears (Gerdes 2). Greta explains that “They’ve given 1. 3 million dollars this year to organizations that help polar bears and fight climate change,” (Gerdes 3). Fifteen percent of their proceeds go to support Polar Bears International (Gerdes 3).
In a local town by Hudson Bay the town put in a program called “Bear Alert” (Usha 3). “Residents can call the bear hotline, day or night, to report errant bears. Manitoba Conservation officer Richard Romaniuk and his crew will shoot the bear with a tranquilizing dart and haul it to jail,”” (Usha 3). In these bear jails the polar bears wait behind bars until the bay freezes or until they can be airlifted and taken somewhere further north (usha 3). All of these things will help polar bears, but way more needs to be done. There are two simple things that someone can do to help out these starving polar bears.
First, we need to raise awareness. Many people don’t realize how close these animals are to extinction. They are losing their habitats fast. We need to convince powerful people like our new president, Donald Trump, to believe that global warming is a real issue. Tell people by spreading the word whether it is through Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or even Instagram. The second simple thing you can do to help polar bears is donating money. You could buy a tshirt or sweatshirt at www. arktikosapparel. com. Look online for organizations to donate to.
Donate to the “Bear Alert” program to help fund more airlifts to bring more starving polar bears up north. You can even go big and start your own organization that people can donate to. All of these things can make a huge difference whether what you do is small or large. In conclusion, there are many issues that polar bears are dealing with to survive. Global warming is the main problem and we need to bring awareness to this issue. It is killing innocent animals through loss of their habitat making it impossible to get enough food. Help polar bears and donate money and raise awareness; that is the key to their survival.