Scientists predict that most polar bears could become extinct by 2100 because of climate change. They add that even if carbon emissions are slowed, most polar bears will still be seriously affected because of ice loss.
As temperatures rise because of manmade climate change, the Arctic is warming about twice as quickly as other places on the planet. By 2050, the Arctic could experience ice-free summers, which will affect the 25 000 polar bears in this, and nearby regions.
Polar bears rely on this ice. They spend most of their lives on the ice, relying on it to travel, find mates and hunt. Because they are not as fast as their main prey, seals, in water, they need the ice to be able to run after and catch them.
In the winter, when there is usually more ice, polar bears eat as much as possible to store up energy. However, with less ice, polar bears have less area for hunting. Further, in summer, they’re forced to spend more time on land because there is less ice but rising temperatures in the Arctic are causing ice-free times to come sooner and last longer. While polar bears can go for up to six months without food, this affects their energy levels, meaning that they will struggle to mate and maintain their numbers.
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The scientists believe that by 2040, polar bears will start dying out and become extinct in southern areas of the Arctic, like Canada. In places like Alaska and Russia, polar bears may start dying out by 2080.
Another study found that most polar bears won’t be able to eat enough in the winters to allow them to survive the potentially ice-free summers.
It is very important that countries reduce their global emissions rapidly or risk losing the beautiful polar bear. There is still time to right our wrongs and set the course for a better future.