Scientists believe Canada’s polar bears are rapidly disappearing

A polar bear on the beach of Hudson Bay in Canada.

Polar bear numbers are declining in Canada’s western Hudson Bay, according to a new study.

The study shows that the number of bears and cubs in particular has decreased.

Every five years, the Canadian government sends researchers to fly over the region, which includes the village of Churchill, a tourist destination described as the “polar bear capital of the world”, to count the number of bears and thus monitor their evolution. bears. population development.

194 bears were seen during the last count in August and September 2021. Based on this, researchers estimate the total population to be 618 bears, up from 842 five years earlier.

– Comparison with estimates from 2011 and 2016 studies suggests that the population could decline sharply, the study indicates.

– The observed decline is consistent with long-standing predictions about how the distribution of polar bears is affected by climate change, the researchers write.

They also point out that possible movements of bears to neighboring regions and hunting could have contributed to this decline.

But polar bears depend on the ice and their habitat has rapidly deteriorated. Northern regions are warming four times faster than the rest of the world.

This means that the ice has become thinner, breaking up earlier in the spring and freezing again later in the fall. Polar bears use the ice to hunt seals, travel and breed.


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Chelsea Glisson

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