Polar bears found in Arctic region and its surrounding areas are facing the challenges to their survival due to global warming which has greatly affected other animal species also including the marine species. The primary threat to the survival of the polar bears is the loss of sea ice cover which is their habitat.
Polar bears are the marine animals but they spend more time at sea rather than on land. According to the latest estimates out of the total 19 sub-populations of the polar bears 20,000-25,000 are classified as vulnerable by World Conservation Union (IUCN) and they are listed under threatened species by US Endangered Species Act. But some claims suggest that their population has increased since 1950 and the number is now stable.
According to new research, these polar bears have to migrate towards east continuously as there is an increase in westward sea ice drift in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. This research was conducted by the researchers from the University of Wyoming and the U.S. Geological Survey. Due to the movement of sea ice platforms farther away, the survival of these animals is becoming dangerous due to less hunting opportunities and the shortage of food. The research study and its results are published in the journal Global Change Biology on June 6.
Due to climatic changes and an increase in global warming the sea ice melts because of which an estimated two-thirds of the polar bears will disappear by 2050. To determine the effect of global warming the collars analyzed the data related to movement patterns and the amount of energy used by the polar bears.
This data was then combined with the sea ice drift estimates in the region which were provided by National Snow and Ice Data Center or NEIDC. The data involving more than 77,000 polar bear locations and the related decline in sea ice cover was studied during two different research periods. The first research was carried out between 1987 and 1998 and the second one was conducted between 1999 and lasted till 2013.
The polar bear’s movement towards East to preserve their ecological habitat as well as perfect ideal temperatures in which they can survive. The sea ice cover is important for the polar bears as it makes easy for them to find their prey.