Thursday, June 18, 2009

Global Warming Starves Polar Bears

By Nick Tart



As an inconvenient truth, global warming is affecting our world. But who can physically feel the effects of global warming on a daily basis? Sure, this summer may have been a couple degrees hotter than the last summer, but do the majority of humans really notice this difference?

The human species is undeniably at fault for global warming but we are not necessarily the ones who have to cope with its effects. One of the regions most drastically affected by global warming is the Arctic Circle. And who lives there? Polar bears.

Studies have shown that over the last 20 years, polar bear populations have dropped nearly 25 percent. Not only have they dropped in numbers, scientists have also noticed that they have dropped significantly in size. Polar bears use their body fat to stay alive in cold weather and to float longer in stormy seas. Without excessive body fat, it is much more difficult for them to survive.

Four polar bears were recently discovered off the coast of Alaska after they apparently drowned during a violent storm. Scientists are beginning to recognize that the melting of the polar ice caps frequently leaves polar bears stranded on islands and ice burgs.

Polar bears can swim up to 100 miles to get back to the mainland, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to do this. They have to swim longer distances more often which consequently causes them to lose valuable body fat. Also, if the ice caps recede any more than 100 miles from where the polar bears are stranded, they will not be able to eat until the following winter.

Even if an individual polar bear is not in trouble, the fate of their species is in dire danger. Polar bears are simply struggling to survive in the current state of our planet, and if nothing changes they will become extinct.

Who knows? We could be next.

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