When we hear the words “global warming,” many of us think of all the cute animals that are being harmed due to the constant environmental changes. Mammals such as whales, polar bears and seals are the common predators that live in the artic regions that help to suffice the Inuit’s shared lifestyles. When searching for an article to blog this week, I happened to find an article in “Winnipeg’s Free Press” regarding killer whales and polar bears. Immediately, I found myself interested and just had to share with the rest of you!
As we all know, the sea ice in the northern regions is rapidly melting, enticing more and more killer whales into the Nunavut waters. Inuit hunters have reported that killer whales eat whatever they can catch, mainly other marine mammals including seals. This sets killer whales as the greatest predator to all other mammals. Inuit hunters are now forced to compete with these whales for food and other necessary resources. This sudden competition puts a huge target on Inuit hunters and will force them to learn new and unfamiliar ways of gaining food.
Sea ice has provided cover and safety to polar bears, seals, and other related mammals, however, with the melting of this ice it is making it near impossible for these mammals to escape from predators such as killer whales. Seals and polar bears have used sea ice to take breaks from hunting for food in the sea; now the ice is melting as they are hunting and they have nowhere to go, lost in the open and unsafe waters.
The new reality of killer whales taking over sets a massive change within the entire Arctic ecosystem. This apparent increase in killer whales is an issue in which causes huge concern to the Inuit people.
Over the last few years the sea ice has reached the lowest extent of perennial ice cover on record. As it continues to melt, the risk for Inuit peoples will increase and their lifestyles will continue to deteriorate. The risk for polar bears and seals will intensify and life as we know it will eventually turn around on us. Click here to view the melting ice in the Arctic.