Magnificent polar bears depend on Arctic sea ice to hunt and raise their young. But the ice is shrinking. The International Polar Bear Day draws our attention to what we can do to help to save the polar bears and their habitat.
Polar bears live and hunt alone although they can also be quite social. Polar bears have large paws – up to 30cm wide – which they use like paddles to help them swim. They also distribute their weight over thin ice so they don’t fall through.
Animal welfare groups and environmental organisations alike share they concerns. The Norwegian Polarinsitituttet looks after the polar bears living in the Artic and the Northern polar region.
The Norwegian Arctic includes the archipelago of Svalbard and the Jan Mayen island, and is one of the world´s last wilderness areas and is still relatively untouched. Maintaining it as such is a challenge in an extreme climate, where nature needs a long time to repair damages caused by human intervention, wear and tear and other causes.
In 1973 polar bears were endangered and listed as a threatened species due to local huntsmen. But today the greatest threat to the polar bear is climate change, as they are uniquely adapted to live on sea ice, and that ice is disappearing. According to WWF it’s predicted that by 2050, polar bear numbers may decline by 30% due to the rapid loss of sea ice.
Polar bears are sadly the first species to become endangered because of global warming.
In addition to reducing your carbon footprint on the International Polar Bear Day and of course on all other days if you can, you can also donate money to more research and work to keep the polar bear healthy and happy.