Polar bears are one of the most loved animals in society, especially for animals from the arctic. We love them because they are white, cute, and fluffy. We see them annually in the Coca-Cola commercials, as well as in zoos and amusement parks such as SeaWorld. They seem like such joyful animals, who simply prance around in their own “winter wonderland”. However, this is not the truth. We do not see them in their habitat. The polar bears are suffering severely. Studies have shown that a whopping two-thirds of polar bear population could disappear by 2050!
Why are the polar bears dying at such a quick rate? There is only one answer: global warming.
As the earth keeps getting warmer and warmer, the Arctic Ice Cap keeps melting. This means that the sea level is rising while the ice cap is decreasing. What we do not realize is that the ice is the polar bear’s habitat, their home. Without tightly packed ice, the polar bears have no home. Polar bears survive on hunting and eating seals, which are best hunted on sea ice. Since there is less ice and more water, the polar bears must swim more to reach the sea ice, and potentially catch a seal. They lose all their body fat, and have no more energy to keep swimming, all while hunting becomes more and more difficult. For polar bears, global warming means death.
Polar Bears have become symbols of one of the absolute worst effects of global warming. In Eastern Alaska and Western Canada, the polar bear populations have declined by 40%. Many researchers, including the U.S. Geological Survey and Environment Canada are conducting research to show us this trend. They tagged and released polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea from 2001-2010. By 2010, the population shrank from 1600 to 900. Even worse, only 2 of 80 polar bear cubs that the team tracked between 2003-2007 survived! This horrendous reality of climate change is equivalent to genocide.
We need to realize that global warming isn’t a conflict of the future, it is a serious real problem that’s happening right now. We need to be doing all the things possible to stop pollution and clean up and protect our planet. We should recycle used materials, conserve water and other resources, use alternative renewable energy, and research better ways to save the environment. If we do not find a way to reverse this problem, we will kill all those around us and be stuck alone on this earth– an ugly, dirty home.