The population of the Polar Bear is estimated that there are 25,000, living in about 20 populations; these populations can vary from a few hundred Polar Bears to several thousand. It is estimated that around 60% live in Canada. Although the population of bears has not significantly decreased as yet, if Global warming continues then the Bear will be under threat.
Polar Bear - Diet
The main food source is ringed seals. The seals are hunted on the ice; the bear will wait on the ice sometimes for hours, for the seal to come up for air. When the seal does come up they will either swat it with their paw or it may grab the seal with its sharp teeth. Another way in which they hunt is to search for seal pups in small snow caves. The bear will try to grab the pup before it manages to escape into the water through a hole.
Due to Global Warming the ice is melting and breaking up earlier and earlier. This problem is leaving the bears with less time to hunt and build up their fat for the summer months. Some bears have to now swim up to 100 kilometres in search of sea ice and food, this is leaving them exhausted and some have been known to drown.
Polar Bear - Melting Ice
The Arctic on average has an air temperature increase of 5C in the last 100 years and the ice has decreased by 14%. In some computer models it is predicted that by 2080, the sea ice in the summer months will disappear.
The study of the Polar Bear
Scientists who are studying the Polar Bear have found that as the bears are having to go longer in the spring and summer without food have found that the body conditions of the bear are poor. Fewer cubs are born and fewer are now surviving into adulthood as the mothers do not have enough body fat to feed them.
A study of the Polar bear in Hudson Bay in Canada have found that the spring break up of ice is 2 weeks earlier than it was 20 years previously. This has reduced the bear's weight by about 10%.
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