Polar Bears In Danger
Kathryn's Visual Essay 2016
A Beautiful Creature in the North --the Polar Bear
At the same time, they are loved by many. Polar bears display a high level of intelligence. They are curious, playful, and sensitive to the environment around them.
--Where do they live?--
Arctic Ring of Life
Most of the time in a year
they live on arctic sea ice, and therefore is classified as a marine mammal
when the ice retreats, most polar bears stays on land near shore; this is also when cubs are born in the dens
--Survivor in the North--
Adaptations/ Defense Mechanisms:
Outer Layer of Fur is Hollow
and reflects light which gives the fur a white colour. The white fur helps them to camouflage in icy and snowy habitat.
Thick Layer of Fat
acts as insulation to trap heat.
allow them to get traction on slippery ice.
Polar bears den in summer when sea ice retreats. This helps baby bears to survive their first harsh winter.
--Characteristics of Polar Bear Population--
A little history...
Population Size & Density
According to the most recent data, the total number of polar bears is approximately 26,000.
In areas close to land, where the population of polar bear is monitored, data shows a quite stable population. However, declines in population density has been spotted in recent years as the arctic ice shrinks.
The picture above shows the paths of 15 polar bears according to polar bear trackers. Because of the spaciousness in the Arctic area, polar bears rarely encounter each other, and they don't mark a specific area as their own.
Polar bears are neither territorial nor pack animals. They tend to scatter around individually and randomly as they travel thousands of miles during the year.
Similar to many other mammals, polar bears have a Type I survivorship curve.
The mortality rate significantly increases as polar bears approach the age of 15 to 18 years.
--Factors that Regulates Natural Population--
Commensalism relationship with Arctic Fox
Intraspecific Competition & Interspecific Competition:
Male polar bears fight each other during mating seasons for mate.
As polar bears are at the top of arctic food chains, they rarely compete with other species for resources.
Density-independent Factor that Causes Population Decline:
-- Analyzing the issue --
1. Loss of Arctic Sea Ice due to Global Warming
Sea ice coverage is declining at the rate of 13% per decade. If the trend continues, then polar bears would suffer a loss of habitat, and consequently food.
2. Industrial Impacts
Offshore petroleum installations and operations in the Arctic are expected to increase in number. This expansion would likely affect polar bears and their habitat in many ways, including the following:
· Contact with spilled oil would be fatal.
· An oil spill would affect the entire food chain.
· Noise generated from onshore and offshore oil operations would cause disturbance.
3. Unsustainable Hunting
WWF: Addressing Climate Change
Polar Bear International: Monitoring Populations
Will polar bears become extinct? (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141107-will-polar-bears-become-extinct
Polar Bear Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/polar-bear/22-/70-polar-bear-facts.html
Polar Bear - National Wildlife Federation. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Mammals/Polar-Bear.aspx
Our Work. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/our-work
Goodbye Toronto, Hello Winnipeg! (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.torontozoo.com/PolarBearCub/Humphrey/
Polar Bear Facts | Animal Fact Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.animalfactguide.com/animal-facts/polar-bear/