Polar Bear Swims Nine Days to Find Ice
from Wildlife Promise
Yesterday I read a story that broke my heart. The LA Times reported that researchers have tracked a female polar bear that swam for nine days – nonstop — across the Beaufort Sea, before reaching an ice floe:
“In one of the most dramatic signs ever documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 426 miles offshore.
The marathon swim came at a cost: With little food likely available once she arrived, the bear lost 22% of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey but did not survive, the researchers said.”
Each year, more and more polar bears die as the sea ice that they depend on is destroyed by global warming pollution, forcing them to swim longer distances in search of ice floes to hunt and den.
At the southern edge of polar bears’ range in the Hudson Bay, the approximately 900 polar bears are already in danger of dying out completely. Their plight is a preview of what can, and will, happen to polar bears in the Arctic if nothing is done.
In fact, scientists predict an incredibly high likelihood of extinction of two-thirds of the world’s polar bears in the next 40 years.
There is hope for polar bears living in the Arctic — but only if we limit global warming pollution and protect their habitat from oil and gas development, starting now.
Polar bears need our help and protection to ensure a long, healthy future for the species – we cannot stand idly by while they continue to disappear from the planet.