Polar bears are fighting for existence; Shrinking ice in Arctic ocean may cause annihilation of white giants

02 February 2018, 05:12 PM
Polar bears are fighting for existence; Shrinking ice in Arctic ocean may cause annihilation of white giants (Representative Image)
Polar bears are fighting for existence; Shrinking ice in Arctic ocean may cause annihilation of white giants (Representative Image)

A latest study led by a group of researchers from US Geological Survey has found that some polar bears in parts of the Arctic are losing weights substantially while this is the time when they should gain more.

The study shows that global warming is the reason which has treaten their existence and stopping them from hunting seals during spring.

Researchers counduct the year-long study on nine female white giants and monitored their weight and blood during the spring.

While those Arctic ocean bears need ice in order to hunt for food during the spring, global warming is dwindling the blanket of ice across the locale.

As a result of which five out of nine bears lost weight and four others lost 2.9 to 5.5 pounds (1.3 to 2.5 kg) per day.

“You’re talking a pretty amazing amount of mass to lose,” said US Geological Survey wildlife biologist Anthony Pagano, lead author of the study.

The study published in Thursday’s journal Science had been counducted on those white giants during the month of April and finds that shrinking of ice is causing the weight lose of those bears which is not good for them. In April polar beers need to put on weight so that they can later have cubs, feed the cubs and survive through the harsh winter.

Also Read: Climate change cannot annihilate warm-blooded animals like birds and mammals, says study

Moreover, on the ice, the polar bears burn up 60% more energy than previously thought, according to these real-life measurements done by the scientists.

“Just to break even they have to capture at least one seal every five to 10 days — and that’s just to break even,” said study co-author George Durner, a USGS research zoologist.

“And if they don’t do that they’re going to lose weight.”

The ice cover in the Arctic grows in the winter and melts in the summer. Because of climate change, the ice is shrinking and thinning more and earlier, he said.

As the ice dwindles, “we are essentially pulling the rug out from underneath the polar bears,” Durner said.

“You’re seeing everything it is seeing,” Durner said.

In the long run, climate change “will result in smaller bears that produce fewer cubs and that have lower survival rates,” Blaine Griffen, a Brigham Young University biology professor who wasn’t part of the study said in an email.

Also Read: 2017 second hottest year ever recorded in 20th century, say scientists

All over the Arctic, scientists have seen evidence of weakened polar bears, Pagano said. Last month, a video of a starving polar bear went viral, but it is from a different part of the Arctic and unlikely to be related to global warming, Durner said.

“If it’s bad for polar bears, it might be affecting us in other ways — us being humans,” Durner said. “It’s part of a larger picture.”

First Published: Friday, February 02, 2018 04:44 PM
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