Imagine that you are a child waking up on crisp cool morning in a small village on the outskirts of Alaska. You stretch, throw on some clothes and go running outside. It’s summer, the days are long, and you have a lot planned. You are what is considered a local, you were born in Alaska, so were your parents and their parents. One of your favorite things to do is hunt Polar bears. You are used to the cold temperatures, the ice and the snow. Then one day in your early thirties a new law is enacted stating that you can no longer go hunting for Polar bears. This is something as a local you have always been able to do. You begin to wonder why this change why you cannot do something you were taught as a kid. You had planned on passing down the family tradition to your kids as well.
You go looking for information on what is going on. You have noticed that things are changing. Summers are longer, temperatures are warmer, and the glaciers are melting You find out that Polar bears are on the endangered list and that there are many cases in court right now trying to move their rank up to the extinction list. You wonder how this could be possible and what you can do to help. You plan on finding out all the facts and coming up with a solution.
The question is can we stop the Polar bears from going extinct? Is the cause of the Polar bears problem man made, or is this a natural occurrence? There are many people who believe the Polar bears are just animals, and why should we care? I will take on the challenge to show you why each person should care about just one animal. Because if we can just pass on by with blinders on and allow one animal to die off, then what is stopping us from doing it again?
Polar bears are Northern hemisphere animals. They reside mainly in Alaska, Canada and Russia, where the formation of glaciers and sea ice are abundant. "The ice is a platform to hunt seals, and if they don't have that platform they are in big trouble," says Ian Stirling, research scientist Emeritus at Environment Canada in Edmonton. Polar bears thrive on the shorelines of the ice formations, where the food is in abundance and hunting is easy. They feed mainly on seals and other animals such as fish. One of the main reasons that the Polar bears live on the sea ice edge is because that is where the animals that they feed of off live. The main reason for eating seals is that they are rich in fat content which helps the bears put on fat for the cold winters to come(Stirling 262).
Polar bears mate during the months of March and June. They find their mates on the best hunting grounds where the seals are found. After the females have found their mate and become pregnant, they are then on the lookout for the best place to dig a den. The females like to dig holes in the soft snow drifts that have become more permanent on the cold glacier floors for their dens. The females then stay in the dens and give birth over the long winter month. At which point her cubs usually a set of two, are born. During the first few months the mother polar bear nurses her cubs and depends on the fat rich foods that she has consumed over the past few months of hunting (Stirling 263).
After the cubs are a few months old they venture out into the world with their mother. They begin to learn to hunt, play and swim the arctic weather full of ice. Polar bears can live up to 30 years however, with the degradation of the habitat only a small percentage of bears are living past the age of 12 (Cone 46). One of the main reasons that the longevity of the Polar bears has decreased is due to the melting of the ice shelf. “In Canada's western Hudson Bay, the sea ice where they hunt seals breaks up three weeks earlier now than 30 years ago, Polar bears have declined from 1,200 in 1985 to fewer than 950 in 2004”(Clark 347). This is a prime example of how the climatic change and the warming of the earth is causing dramatic negative effects on the...