Ice melts faster than it freezes in the Arctic leaving polar bears little or no place at all to live and give birth.
Global warming hastens the melting of ice in the Arctic region but it takes longer to reach freezing point. This event spells extinction for the polar bears. The dawdling freezing of several Arctic regions this winter gave pregnant polar bears a hard time to look for birthing sanctuaries.
The sea ice lengthy accumulation during autumn concerned the biologists regarding an extinction event. It is also known as “extirpation event” which means the local extinction of a species. The occurrence could be drawing closer than predicted for the most afflicted populations.
The waters that surround Svalbard, consist of less than half the typical area of ice at this time. As per the Norwegian Ice Service, the recorded 172,291 sq km (66,522 sqm) of ice on 14 November was considered the smallest for this time of year since documentation started in 1967.
“We’re restructuring a whole ecosystem. Sea ice is to the Arctic what soil is to the forest. Without sea ice, we’ll still have an ecosystem but it won’t include polar bears & many other species,” according to zoologist Andrew Derocher, who has studied the bears for 35 years.
Svalbard is an archipelago situated between Norway and the North Pole. The region accommodates 2,500 polar bears. Although the population is unchanging for the past 15 years, the urgencies are growing.
Due to the slow formation of the ice, polar bears need to wait longer to hunt seals for food. This indicates that the bears lost an autumn feeding period which is crucial in the fat build up. Another important urgency involves pregnant female polar bears which usually traverse across the ice to create birthing dens on Hopen as well as other islands which are vital for reproduction, according to Norwegian Polar Institute research scientist Dr. Jon Aars.
Polar bears are not the only animals that are threatened in the Arctic but breeding birds as well. Based on a new scientific report published in the journal, “Science”, the Arctic is not safe anymore for nesting birds.
Researchers cite an association of animal behavior and habitat with the climate change. One example is foxes that steal eggs. Shorebirds lay eggs and breed their young on the ground. leaving them exposed to extreme weather not to mention predators such as monitor lizards and snakes to name a few.
The percentage of everyday nest predation in the Arctic have accumulated three times in the last 70 years. It was found out that preying has doubled in Europe, most part of Asia and North America while the smaller change was noticed in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere.
The scientists examined the gathered data from the past 70 years of over 38,000 nests of 200 bird species. These include 111 shorebirds in 149 areas on all continents. Even if climate change is believed to be the major cause, the accurate procedures are uncertain and other aspects cannot be averted.
If climate change cannot be stopped or even alleviated, what will happen to the animals, especially humans?