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How Does Climate Change Kill Polar Bears?

First Posted: Jan 11, 2017 03:03 AM EST
Polar Bear
A new report says polar bears are under serious threat.
(Photo : Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Polar bear population is under threat and it is no surprise that climate change is the primary culprit.

BuzzFeed reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Monday that climate change is about to wipe polar bears out. The rising temperatures in the Arctic are melting these mammals' habitat and the situation is calling for urgent action to conserve the "threatened" species.

With only an estimated number of 26,000 polar bears left on Earth, these Arctic animals are labeled "threatened" under the Endangered Species list.

The agency came up with a recovery plan that calls for immediate action, which includes restraining the bears' interaction with humans, managing oil spills that affect their habitat and population monitoring.

However, the survival of the species is ultimately up to the world's efforts to curb climate change.

This winter, the coverage of sea ice in the Arctic just hit a disturbing level of 28 percent below historical average. This is depressing for the case of polar bears since they majorly rely on sea ice for prey.

According to The Dodo, seals are on top of the polar bears' diet, which they could only catch by treading on sea ice. As the increasing heat continues to melt the ice, these large predators would just have to settle for a less-abundant supply that they could find on land such as caribou and snow geese.

"Timely implementation of the plan is crucial as the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world," said Elisabeth Kruger, Arctic program officer at World Wildlife Fund.

"This recovery plan is just too risky for the polar bear," commented Shayne Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Recovery plans work, but only if they truly address the threats to species. Sadly that simply isn't the case with this polar bear plan."

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