The Polar Bear Could Become Extinct by 2100

Sebastian Opazo | | Post Tag for BrainsBrains
Polar Bear, Climate Change, Study, 2100
The polar bears could be lost by 2100 Photo by BJ Kirschhoffer/Polar Bears International. Credit: TheGuardian

The polar bear population could become extinct by 2100 due to climate change, according to research published in the journal Nature. Polar bears are spread across 19 distinct sub-populations in Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Svalbard Island, and Greenland.

Their dwindling bodyweight undermines their chances of surviving Arctic winters without food. With temperatures warming twice as fast in the Arctic as the rest of the planet, the decrease of ice is becoming a problem. Unable to find other food as rich as seals in their surroundings means polar bears venture further and further from their territory.

“The bears face an even longer fasting period before the ice refreezes and they can head back out to feed.”

Said Steven Amstrup, Chief scientist of Polar Bears International.

Far Territory, Polar Bear, Climate Change
A picture taken on October 31, 2018, shows polar bears feeding at a garbage dump near the village of Belushya Guba, on the remote Russian northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Credit: Phys

In the study, scientists estimated the maximum and minimum weight of the bears and modeled their energy expenses. They managed to calculate the maximum number of fasting days that a polar bear can endure before the survival rates of adults and children start to decline.

There are currently about 25,000 wild polar bears on Earth. Polar bears are the largest type of bear on the planet, with each weighing up to 1,600 pounds. That means, they need a lot of food in order to survive.

With the modeling data scientists combined those thresholds with the projected number of future sea ice-free days to determine how polar bear population will be affected in different parts of the Arctic. 

Polar Bear, Cub, Seals, Starving, Lack of Ice
A polar bear and her cubs on pack ice in the Olga Strait, Svalbard, photo by Paulette Sinclair/ Alamy. Credit: Times

“There is very little chance that polar bears would persist anywhere in the world, except perhaps in the very high Arctic in one small subpopulation, if greenhouse-gas emissions continue at so-called business-as-ussual levels. 

Said Peter K. Molnar, lead author of the study. 

The research showed that a male bear, for example, in the West Hudson Bay population, is 20 percent below its normal body weight when fasting begins will only have enough stored energy to survive about 125 days rather than 200. Newborn cubs are even more exposed, according to the study, especially when mothers have not fattened up enough to provide nourishing milk.

The polar bear’s vulnerable status on the IUCN Red List of endangered species less severe that “endangered” or “critically endangered” does not accurately reflect their plight, the authors argued.

Polar Bear, Arctic, Fasting
Sleeping Polar bear, photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager. Credit: Unsplash

“Unlike other species threatened by hunting or deforestation, polar bears can only be saved if their habitat is protected, which requires tackling climate change at a global level. It’s important that the public undestand the urgency of the issue.” 

Said Steven Amstrup.

The data reported by the specialists indicate that the polar bears would begin to have serious problems to survive from 2080. And by 2100, it looks inevitable that these populations will experience reproductive failures, leading to extinction if countries don’t drastically reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.

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4 thoughts on “The Polar Bear Could Become Extinct by 2100

  1. Climate change is a total farce, the climate is always changing right.
    Global warming pffft how can it be warming if we still get buried in snow in the mountains?
    So ya as my implicatory beliefs say because I belong to a certain group, blah blah blah will allow me to disagree with the ongoing science of over 11,000 global climate scientist which shows the has and will continue warming to the demise of the planet’s ecosystem and many living species.(sarc, the lowest form of humor, I know I know)
    USSR United States Stupid Republicans sounds like that other Republic in the soviet union that failed so miserably decades ago too eh?
    We’re screwed people and humans and big oil have been seriously damaging

  2. I thought they were supposed to be extinct by now? And the glaciers were all gonna be gone by 2020?!?

    1. All you have is bad faith arguments. Projections change with more data. You are just like one of those “Fauci said masks were BAD in February!!!!” people.

  3. Indeed
    Hello global warming
    And yet snowbrains posts real estate listings of excessively overbuilt and over priced mountain area homes that contribute 25% or more greenhouse gas emissions than non-wealthy peoples homes. And that doesnt even take into consideration the private jet carbon footprint if these bougy types.
    Snowbrains hypocrites??? Hmmmm

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