The polar bears and other Arctic animal species are becoming an endangered species since the glaciers have been melting as a result of global warming. The article below elaborates on the effects of global warming on polar bears.
Global warming is the phenomenon wherein the temperature of the Earth is on a rise owing to several factors. Consequently, there have been diverse climatic changes all across the world, and this has been affecting the flora and fauna all over. The pollution is increasing every day with limited means to control the same, as a result of which the effects and counter-effects have started showing off drastically. The rise in temperature would possibly lead to acidification of the ocean waters and the depletion of the ozone layer. The major concern is the melting of glaciers, which implies that there is a fair chance of the world drowning one day, and prior to that, the extinction of animals that can only exist in the snow-capped mountains and glaciers. The polar bears are native to the Arctic and are one of the worst affected animal species due to this problem.
Why are Polar Bears Affected?
- Polar bears are known as the world’s largest land carnivore.
- Being native to the Arctic, these animals are prone to live on ice and the sea thus, the melting of the glaciers is destroying their habitat.
- Not just that, they are also being exposed to starvation, since these carnivorous animals mostly feed on seals, walruses, and whales, which are also disappearing with the change in the climate.
- Moreover, the food that they eat has a high degree of pollutants, which leads to birth defects and a reduction in the immunity of these bears.
How are they affected?
- Most polar bears have lost their lives by drowning while the ice glaciers melt, as the ice caps retreat before their seasonal time to which the animals are not habituated.
- The drowning is not due to the fact that these polar bears cannot swim; they can actually swim for miles together, but they are used to swimming between ice sheets, and the absence of ice sheets makes them susceptible.
- The death rate of polar bears has increased manifold with the rate of ice retreat being on a constant increase.
- The distance between survival and extinction is ever-increasing and that has also started showing statistically as the number of polar bears is decreasing.
- Most of the time, it happens so that before these bears can actually hoard enough food for themselves and come back to a safe place, the ice melts and catches them in a vulnerable position.
- Polar bears hunt seals as well, the number of which is also on the verge of a decline.
- Also, due to the acidification of oceans, the marine animals are consuming contaminated food, which in turn is passed onto the polar bears who feed on them, thus weakening their immune systems and also leading to birth defects.
Is there any way of saving these Polar Bears?
- The answer is “No” as we think from the point of view of finding a solution for global warming, but there is definitely a gleam of hope that can be seen since these animals are trying to adapt to the changing climatic conditions.
- The younger bears seem to be able to sustain on the beaches and are also found near the carcasses of whales butchered by humans, which is quite unlike polar bears.
- As such, polar bears may be able to hunt for themselves, though their preference has always been the seals. So, this can be seen as a way of adaptation for these creatures. We can only hope that they do adapt well to the change and sustain it.