Has everyone heard about the new baby polar bear at the Toronto Zoo? If not, you can check out this CBC News article about the cute little guy. I can’t wait to go see him! [That’s him in the picture below! So adorable!]
Although these amazing creatures are so cute and adorable when they’re little, and so breathtaking and majestic when they’re larger, I found an article talking about some not so beautiful things are happening to them and their environment, and there are some not so ‘cool’ predictions for their futures.
We all know [well, hopefully we all know] that the arctic ice caps are melting due to climate change. Arctic places and arctic countries are feeling this change more dramatically than places like Southern Ontario, where I’m from. From engaging in discussions in class, I’ve learned that the global climate is said to only be able to increase approximately 2 degrees before things may be irreversible. As our average climate is slowly increasing, the article “North Icon in Peril: Global Warming Threatens World’s Polar Bears” has brought to my attention that temperatures in the arctic are increasing at approximately twice the rate of the rest of the world! So with approximately 60% of the world’s polar bears living in Canada’s arctic , of course their life is going to be jeopardized.
I decided it would probably be important to find some general information about polar bears first, because when I think of polar bears, all I really think of is big, white, beautiful and fluffy animals that live somewhere REALLY cold with lots of ice. I don’t know much about them! So I found some facts for you [and I both!]
- Like I said earlier, nearly 60% of the world’s polar bears live in Canada
- Polar bears spend such a large amount of time on the ice and also in the water that some scientists consider them to be marine animals
- Polar bears use sea ice for a variety of purposes such as hunting, seeking out mates and travelling
- Polar bears use sea ice as a hunting platform to catch seals and other animals for food. With the sea ice rapidly melting, they are having difficulty meeting their dietary needs!
In order for polar bears to make it through the summer, they need to eat a LOT of food during the winter in order to “stock up” before hibernation so they don’t starve. But as the Nature Canada article states, “the annual sea ice melts, polar bears are forced ashore to spend their summers fasting”. With the lack of ice, the polar bears can’t hunt their main prey, seals, and will begin to go hungry. Now, I don’t mean to keep quoting this article but I find this to be very sad: “If the Arctic ice cap continues to melt sooner and form later, polar bears will become too thin to reproduce and they will become extinct by the end of this century”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ever think that polar bears will no long exist! Unfortunately, this may become a reality. The article said that since 1979, summer ice has declined by approximately a whopping 30%.
Because the polar bears’ territory is being destroyed, and thanks to the concern of many people, the polar bear was thankfully placed on “species of special concern” under the Species at Risk Act in November 2011. Personally, I think this should have happened much earlier, and I think that they should be considered endangered, but I think the ‘endangered status’ has to do with numbers rather than concern.
I chose to talk about the main article from Nature Canada because although it’s a depressing article, stating that eventually by the end of this century, they’re predicting that polar bears will be extinct, it gave me hope that there is something we can do about their fate. It gave me hope that we can maybe extend their lives, or maybe save the species all together! Putting this species on the “Species of Special Concern” list is just the first step.. and it’s the first step towards saving them.
There are lots of different things that you can do to help out the polar bears though. I ask that you PLEASE sign this petition that I just found to add polar bears to the endangered species list. You can also visit the World Wildlife Foundation website and adopt a polar bear. There are many things that we can do to save this beautiful creature.
They’re just too cute to not exist anymore ❤