Polar bears are the most majestic bears on earth. They live in the arctic where they feed on seals and walrus. Sadly the pack ice in the arctic is melting and the bears have to search farther for food. Scientists predict that polar bears could be extinct in 50 years due to the drastic decrease in habitat. Can we save the polar bears?
The stable pack ice is the polar bears’ main habitat. They den, hunt, and mate in this region of the arctic. Since the 1970s, arctic sea ice has been disappearing. Each decade since 1970 shows a 13 percent decrease in the pack ice. Although polar bears are strong swimmers, it takes a lot of energy for a bear to swim a long distance to find food.
POLAR BEARS STRUGGLE TO KEEP THEIR CUBS ALIVE
Unfortunately, polar bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates among mammals. A study was done to ascertain the survival rates of polar bear cubs living on the northern coast of Alaska and western Canada. Only 43 percent of polar bear cubs have a chance of surviving their first year compared to a 65 percent survival rate in 1990. Mother bears have to eat a lot to get through their denning period which can be up to eight months. The fact that it is harder for them to get food could be one of the reasons the polar bear cub mortality rate is so high.
Luckily there are wildlife organizations that care about the polar bears. Defenders of Wildlife has suggested implementation of programs to help save the polar bears. These programs suggest providing supplemental feedings for the bears, rescuing bears that are malnourished to rehabilitate them and establishing programs with zoos to take polar bears that cannot sustain themselves in the wild.
POLAR BEARS ARE AT THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN IN THE ARCTIC
The ecosystem in the arctic is in jeopardy. Polar bears are at the top of the food chain in the arctic. Polar bears eat seals; the seals eat fish; the fish eat zooplankton, and the zooplankton eat the algae that grows underneath the ice. The disappearance of ice threatens the algae levels which disrupts the entire food chain.
Can we save the polar bears? Well, we can but it’s going to take all of us working together to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that are heating up the planet. The United States government may have an administration that rescinds regulations meant to curb greenhouse gases and pollute the waters and land, but we can do our part and so can big manufacturing companies.
- As individuals we can conserve on energy by using public transportation or carpooling to work.
- We can turn our engines off when going through the drive through at McDonalds, or park the car and go inside.
- Insulating our homes and regulating the thermostat to use as little energy as possible not only helps the environment but it saves money on utility bills.
- We can work in our community to raise awareness of global warming by encouraging people to conserve, recycle, and plant trees.
- Purchasing food that is grown locally and only buying what food we can eat saves energy and stops waste.
- One of the most important things we can do is to make our voices heard. Voting for candidates who support reducing greenhouse gases and writing letters to our local papers.
CAN WE SAVE THE POLAR BEARS?
Finally, we must stay positive. In this world of negativity it seems we are all doomed. Not so fast! We can work together to save the polar bears and our ecosystems. We can raise our voices and let the powers that be know that they have to take action. Can we save the polar bears? I believe we can!