Polar Bears On Thin Ice

Imagine this, you are sitting on your couch watching T.V. and the usual Coca-cola commercial comes on but this time, you don’t see the beautiful polar bear. You see a fox or a wolf or another animal that doesn’t compete with the magnificent polar bear. That can well be the case here soon due to the polar bear population declining every day because of global warming.

The polar bear’s main habitat is the arctic sea ice and their main source of prey, seals, will hide in, on, or under it. The polar bear has adapted its hunting techniques to find the seals on the ice.

So how does global warming tie into this?  

Well, if you didn’t know, “Rising temperatures in the world’s oceans are causing sea ice to disappear for longer and longer periods during the late summer,”(National Wildlife Federation). In return, the polar bear does not get enough time to hunt and survive. Polar bears can only survive by hunting their prey, seals, and seals are vulnerable only on the ice. Global warming is the main cause in this extinction and humans are the main threat.

So how do humans cause global warming?

Whenever we drive our cars or heat our homes, we release carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases into our atmosphere (West). To add on to that, “During the 150 years of the industrial age, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31 percent. Over the same period, the level of atmospheric methane has risen by 151 percent,” (West). This rise in trapped heat is what causes the longer summers and less ice to hunt on for the polar bears.

Here is a scary fact, “As climate change melts sea ice, the U.S. Geological Survey projects that two thirds of polar bears will disappear by 2050.”(National Wildlife Federation).

Here are some other facts to further let you know how global warming is a big issue for the bear:

  • Arctic sea ice extent for January 2011 was the lowest in the satellite record for that month.
  • The winter’s maximum Arctic sea ice extent tied for the lowest on record. The year saw the second lowest Arctic ice levels since 1979 when observation began.
  • A female polar bear reportedly swam for nine days - nonstop-across the Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe, costing her 22 percent of her weight and her cub.

http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat/Polar-Bears.aspx

I do not know about the rest of the public but I think the polar bear is an animal that cannot ever be replaced. The pure beauty and raw power of the bear is one of a kind. So how about help these bears stay alive.

Here are some ways you can do to help reduce global warming:

1.      You can drive less because the less you drive, fewer emissions go into the air.

2.      Learn how to turn your lights off!

3.      Recycling alone can be a big factor in reducing global warming.

4.      Buy more “green” products.

http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/tp/globalwarmtips.htm

These simple things can make a huge dent in the decline of the ice caps and the polar bears. Let’s all pitch in to cut down on global warming and save the great polar bear.

 

-Austin Cowan

Cited-

National Wildlife Federation. “Polar Bear.” www.nwf.org. 13 February 2013. http://www.nwf.org/wildlife/wildlife-library/mammals/polar-bear.aspx

Lary West. "What Causes Global Warming?" About.com Environmental Issues. 13 Feb. 2013.

http://environment.about.com/od/faqglobalwarming/f/globalwarming.htm

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