February 27 – International Polar Bear Day

Posted on February 27, 2017

Things are not looking up for polar bears!

These popular white bears normally live within the Arctic Circle, in the northern polar region. (Penguins, not polar bears, live in the southern polar region.)

Because of global climate change, sea ice in the Arctic is breaking up and melting earlier and earlier every year, and that means that the polar bears have way fewer opportunities to hunt and feed. 

Not eating means poorer health.

And poorer health means fewer babies.

Other current threats to polar bears include oil exploration, which disturbs the ecosystem and can cause pollution. Actually, toxic pollution anywhere in the world can threaten polar bears, because pollutants tend to get into water, get carried into and all over in the ocean, and get absorbed into tissues of living things. If each fish eats a little bit of a toxic chemical, and each ringed seal eat a whole bunch of fish, and a polar bear eats a WHOLE bunch of ringed seals...then the polar bear ends up eating an awful lot of that toxic chemical!

So...polar bear populations are going down, and the species is considered "vulnerable" (not yet endangered, thank goodness!).

Still, Polar Bears International wants you to know that there IS hope. Check out the gorgeous website to learn more about these wonderful creatures, the dangers they face, and the ways in which people are trying to help.

By the way, some people wonder why we should help polar bears when there are children in the world who are hungry or shoeless. That seems like a pretty good point, BUT fighting global climate change saves us all -- the bears AND the children in the world! Large carnivores are some of the strongest creatures in any ecosystem, but they are also some of the most vulnerable; we have to watch them carefully for signs that something is going wrong with a particular habitat.

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