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"Living on the Edge of Extinction"
(The Polar Bear)
|By: LeRoy French
7 November 2008
It seems like just last week when I mentioned in my article that the Caribbean Monk Seal
had become extinct, we are now faced with another problem (or I should say the Polar
Bear is). When you hear about a specie becoming extinct, this means it is gone forever. It
does not exist in our eco-system any longer. This is an extremely sad and serious situation
So what is happening to the Polar Bear? This is the largest carnivore on land, measuring up
to 10 feet and weighing around 1700 Ibs. This enormous animal is losing the battle with
There are many ongoing research projects worldwide that are trying to help the Polar Bear
fight this battle. Scientists have many theories on what to do, but the basic problem is the
melting of ice caps do to global warming. Temperatures in the Canadian Arctic have risen
over 7 degrees fahrenheit in the past 50 years. The arctic circle temperatures have
increased at twice the rate of the rest of the worlds climate. The arctic ice is melting and this is
bad for the Polar Bears.
With sea ice melting at a record pace, polar bears face an inability to access prey. The
distances between sea ice and land has increased to the point that the Polar Bear can no
longer swim between the two, and as a result in some instances they drown in the attempt.
Polar Bears are not supposed to drownl This animal is capable of swimming over 100
miles at a time and mainly hunts on land. Its main diet are seals, and it hunts the seal on land.
It cannot hunt in the water as the seal will out swim the bear. This means that with the
increase in distances, the bear is forced to stay on land for extended periods and cannot
travel from ice cap to ice cap, meaning it cannot hunt and without food their bodies start to
shrink. As a result this makes them slower and not as capable to catch their prey. The Polar
Bears habitat is about as cold as it gets, with temperatures dropping to -49 degrees
fahrenheit (-45 celsius), however this amazing animal has evolved to thrive in these
Now along with the polar bears plight there exists another one and that is the arctic seal.
What's happening here is that it is estimated that 1500 newborn seals in the arctic circle are
unlikely to survive their first few months. When born the seal cub will remain burrowed in the
ice for about a month until their bodies develop layers of fat and fur so that they can survive
in the frigid waters. So with the ice melting too quickly, the cubs find themselves in the water
before they are ready. The arctic seal population in the last century has gone from 180,000
It's been noted that by mid-century it is likely that polar bears will be eliminated from the
southern end of the polar basin, where sea ice is moving further from land. This area is
home to about two thirds of the polar bear population. Various studies indicate that this
population could disappear by 2050 if global warming continues.
So having said all this, what is the solution. Man was responsible for the extinction of the
Caribbean Monk Seal. Do we want to be responsible for another specie becoming
extinct? Scientists believe that the sea bear evolved about 200,000 years ago from
200,000 years of evolution ..WOW! To lose that would be disastrous. This is something
we can correct. Studies seem to indicate that ice melting is 'very likely' caused by human
emissions of greenhouse gases.
Global Warming is our problem, don't make it the Polar Bears demise.
There is so much written nowadays about Global Warming and how you can help, that its
not necessary for me to go into detail. Just find an article online. Aside from that, a few
articles back I gave 10 simple things that anyone can do to save energy.
Polar Bears need all the help they can get!