Polar bears face starvation and reproductive failure as climate warms, WWF says

Polar bears will be facing a new kind of problem as the century winds on according to scientists. New data shows that polar bears that were once considered safe in the archipelago – which is north of the Canadian mainland – is considered a place that could see serious loss of life for polar bears by the end of the century.

The data suggests that as the ice breaks up amongst the 30,000 islands it will put the population of polar bears that live in this region seriously in jeopardy. To give some perspective, the scientists also believe that the population of polar bears that exist in this region are roughly a quarter of the entire global population or representation of the animals.


It’s been discovered that the longer these regions go without ice cover, the more damage is done to the population of polar bears. For example, it was noted that for every 180 days that are “ice free” anywhere from 9-21 adult male polar bears will face starvation. Other animals face even more uncertain terms. In fact, female polar bears can face entire reproductive failure if the sea ice breaks up too early in the spring or summer. This is why pregnant females are often moving to the mainland in an effort to ensure that they are able to carry their cub’s full-term.


“Polar bears feed primarily on two species of seals – ringed seals and bearded seals- both of which they have access to from the ice, but not from the land,” according to Scientists Stephen Hamilton with the University of Alberta. The scientists found that by 2080 between ice melt, and snow depth decrease – the polar bears food supply may be in serious jeopardy.


“Nevertheless, by 2100 all regions of the study area may cross the critical point of no-return,” according to the study and findings. Scientists urge that there is virtually no evidence to ensure that polar bears could adapt to such a change – and that the change would do serious damage to the species as a whole. During the first ten years of this century in Canda and Alaska the population of polar bears declined by at least 25% according to the team of scientists – and that is cause for concern. Similarly, penguins have been facing the same battle to remain a part of the habitat in Northern Canada and Alaska.