Can We Save the Polar Bears?

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?

Can we save the polar bears

A skinny polar bear walks on thin ice searching for food. Image credit: Andreas Weith

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.

Can we save the polar bears?

A mother bear will keep her cubs close by for at least 20 months.

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?

Polar bears can swim up to 200 miles to find food but doing so is dangerous.

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.

  1. As individuals we can conserve on energy by using public transportation or carpooling to work.
  2. We can turn our engines off when going through the drive through at McDonalds, or park the car and go inside.
  3. 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.
  4. We can work in our community to raise awareness of global warming by encouraging people to conserve, recycle, and plant trees.
  5. Purchasing food that is grown locally and only buying what food we can eat saves energy and stops waste.
  6. 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!

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21 Comments

  1. We have taken a lot of steps to be more conservative around our home. We are active on buying local. Polar bears are our favorite and this is so disturbing. Hopefully all of our efforts will prevail.

    • Good for you all! I just had our fireplace insert cleaned so we can burn wood this winter and keep the boiler turned down low. When I was researching this and saw the photo of the thin polar bear, I felt sick. Thankfully, organizations like Defenders of Wildlife are working to save these poor bears.

  2. Polar bears are my husband’s favorite animal so I hope so. I know our local zoo has a few of them and we love visiting them. They’re majestic.

    • I love them as well. I recently found out that my spirit animal is the bear so no wonder I love bears so much! I’m thankful that the modern zoos make natural habitats for these bears so they can have happy lives.

  3. This topic breaks my heart. We really need to do everything we can to make a difference for these bears. I have donated to several different charities for this.

  4. Not long ago I listened to a podcast on NPR’s Fresh Air about a photographer who’s spent his career documenting animals in the Antartic and Arctic. It was incredible to hear. At one point he talked specifically about Polar Bears and said they are the one species that he uses to drive home the connection of how imprtant the icy ecosystem is. He wants people to realize that ice is like soil in the garden and without it, the polar regions simply can’t exist. Here’s a link to the show if you’d like to listen: http://www.npr.org/2017/06/06/531735345/polar-photographer-shares-his-view-of-a-ferocious-but-fragile-ecosystem

    • Thank you, I’m glad you and the others that commented are on board! My Dad grew big gardens and knowing how much work goes into growing fruits and vegetables, we never and I still don’t waste food.

  5. This is really great information . It is so sad to think that Polar Bears could be gone from our planet. We really need to take better care of our planet and animals. We must do better!

  6. This is truly a very informative post. The plight of the Polar Bears is really heart-rending. Global warming is threatening so many species today. All the stakeholders need to unite and take positive steps to arrest the deterioration of the earth.I really appreciate the fact that you have listed out what we as individuals can do. Yes, every small measure helps.

  7. I do think we should be protecting the animals around us and making sure we take care of them and their ecosystems. Although I have read that the polar bears have actually thrived since the sea ice started melting in earnest in 2007. Now I am all for protecting the sea ice and I am all for protecting the polar bears but they do not seem to have any correlation.

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