Polar bears: a vulnerable species

Erik Hultgren, News Reporter

The polar bear is undoubtedly one of the most popular and polarizing species of the animal kingdom, but its population is declining.
They reside in the highest reaches of the northern hemisphere and are among the mightiest of carnivores. The polar bear is the much larger sister species of the brown bear, but, as strong as it may be, its population has been on the decline.
Because of the loss of their natural habitat due to climate change, polar bears have been classified as a vulnerable species. At least three of the polar bears’ subpopulations are said to be currently in decline, with more expected to follow.
Polar bears are classified as a marine animal due to the long amount of time that they spend at sea every year, but, with the ice caps melting and temperatures in the arctic circle on the rise, their population is constantly under threat.
The biggest danger posed by climate change to polar bears is malnutrition. Polar bears generally prefer to hunt for seals on sea ice, and, with rising temperatures melting the ice earlier in the year, the bears often do not have enough time to build up fat for the summer. Without sufficient fat reserves, many polar bears cannot survive the warmer months where it is much harder to attain food.
Although polar bears are among the strongest of land mammals, they are helpless to the effects of climate change.

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