Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming, Study Shows

Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming, Study Shows

SOURCE: National Geographic DATE: February 1, 2018 SNIP: Because of melting sea ice, it is likely that more polar bears will soon starve, warns a new study that discovered the large carnivores need to eat 60 percent more than anyone had realized. Turns out they are high-energy beasts, burning through 12,325 calories a day—despite sitting around most of the time, according to a unique metabolic analysis of wild bears published Thursday in Science. “Our study reveals polar bears’ utter dependence on seals,” said lead author Anthony Pagano, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). If these results hold up, then it shows that the loss of sea ice may have a bigger impact on the bears than previously thought, said Amstrup, a former USGS polar bear expert. Amstrup’s own 2010 study projected that continued decline in sea ice would reduce the global population of bears by two thirds, to less than 10,000 by 2050. Climate change is heating up the Arctic faster than anywhere else, and sea ice is shrinking 14 percent per decade. Even today, in the middle of the bitter cold Arctic winter, satellites show there is about 770,000 square miles less sea ice than the 1981 to 2010 median (That’s an area larger than Alaska and California combined). In the late spring, the ice is breaking up sooner and forming later in the fall, forcing bears to burn huge amounts of energy walking or swimming long distances to get to any remaining ice. Or they stay on land longer, spending the summer and, increasingly, the fall fasting, living off their fat from the seals...
Polar bears crowd on Russian island in sign of Arctic change

Polar bears crowd on Russian island in sign of Arctic change

SOURCE: Channel News Asia DATE: November 23, 2017 SNIP: A boatload of tourists in the far eastern Russian Arctic thought they were seeing clumps of ice on the shore, before the jaw-dropping realisation that about 200 polar bears were roaming on the mountain slope. The bears had come to feast on the carcass of a bowhead whale that washed ashore, later resting around the food source. The crowd included many families, including two mothers trailed by a rare four cubs each, Gruzdev told AFP. Climate change means ice, where polar bears are most at home, is melting earlier in the year and so polar bears have to spend longer on land, scientists say. Studies have shown that, compared with 20 years ago, polar bears now spend on average a month longer on Wrangel Island because “ice is melting earlier and the ice-free period is longer”, said Eric Regehr, from the University of Washington, the lead American scientist on the US-Russian collaborative study of Wrangel Island polar bears. Changing ice conditions could also be responsible for the increasing number of bears flocking there, Regehr said. This autumn, the number of bears observed was 589, far exceeding previous estimates of 200-300, he said, calling it “anomalously...