Isbjørne og klimaforandringer
Polar bears are dependent on the sea ice to catch seals, and therefore they're very sensitive to climate change and the sea ice disappearing.
Polar bears in the wild use the sea ice as a platform to catch their primary prey, seals. But the sea ice is not a constant, and the amount of sea ice varies over the year. In June/July large areas of sea ice will begin to melt, and many polar bears strand on land. Here they cannot catch seals, and the will fast until the sea ice freezes again in November/December.
Pregnant females are the most vulnerable
The polar bears that fast for the longest time is the pregnant females, forced to spend a long time away from the sea ice to raise their cubs. They will go on land same time as all the other polar bears in June/July. In October they will dig a den in snow hill or on the tundra, and here they will birth their young in November/December. The cubs are very small at birth (around 6-700 grams), so they need to wit till march before they’re big enough to venture outside of the den and out on the sea ice. This means, that the mother won’t have eaten for about 8 months!
The fasting period is getting longer
Because of climate change the temperature in the Arctic is rising, and large areas of sea ice is disappearing. Already now, the period where polar bears can hunt on the sea ice is shortened by 3-4 weeks in many parts of the Arctic. This has consequences for all polar bears, but especially the pregnant females, that already have long fasting periods, are affected.
The females don’t have enough time to catch enough seals, and to build a thick enough fat layer to raise their young. The cubs will therefore not get enough sustenance and will either die in the den or during their first days on the sea ice.
The Polar Bear is an ambassador
Most people love the big Arctic bears, and we can quickly agree that it would be devasting, if there where no more polar bears in the wild.
Climate change and the disappearing sea ice doesn’t only cause problems for the polar bear. Lots of species are dependent on the sea ice, and it’s a very important part of the Arctic ecosystem. As an example, lot os algae live underneath the sea ice, that feed a big part of the life in the Arctic oceans. Several species of fish cannot survive without these algae, and when disappear there will be less and less fish, that the seals can eat. On top of that, the seals use the sea ice to give birth to and raise their young, and ringed seals are therefore just as threatened by climate change as the polar bear.
The sea ice also plays a big part and keeping the temperatures down on the rest of the planet, because ice reflects much more of the heat rays from the sun, than the underlying sea water does.
What can you do?
If you would like join us, in trying to save the sea ice and the polar bears, there’s lots of things you can do.
You can for example:
- Change to more energy-efficient light bulbs
- Use reusable bags when shopping
- Recycle your waste
- Bike when you can, and leave your car in the driveway
- Turn down your thermostat, and wear a warm sweater instead.