These Polar Bears Had A Tough Decade
A new study shows a marked decrease in the number of polar bears in the Arctic’s southern Beaufort Sea during the 2000s, a period when summer sea ice was also declining. Scientists estimate the population of polar bears in the area north of Alaska and northern Canada declined by about 40 percent from 2001 to 2010.
By tagging and recapturing polar bears over the years, researchers were able to estimate the changes in population size over the decade. Jeffrey Bromaghin, a research statistician for the United States Geological Survey and lead author of the study, told The Huffington Post it’s likely that loss of sea ice during the 10-year period led to the starvation of many of the bears.
“We suspect the primary cause of reduced survival and population decline was starvation, due to climate-induced sea ice conditions that reduced access to seals,” Bromaghin told HuffPost. “During the lengthening open water period, most bears in the southern Beaufort Sea stay on the remnant ice far from shore where few seals are thought to occur.” Essentially, the bears were forced farther away from their food source.
The decline in the number of polar bears over the 10-year period —> Read More Here