Polar bears may be in an even bigger danger than it was originally believed as a new study went to calculate the effect the polar ice melt is having on the species.
The fact that polar bears, just as some penguin subspecies, are an endangered and threatened species comes as no surprise.
However, a new study came to concerning conclusions as it determined that the species may be in an even greater danger.
The concerning discovery was made by the IUCN or the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
As the IUCN completed its assessment, the study results were published in the Biology Letters journal of the Royal Society Publishing on December 7.
With the research led by Eric Regehr resulting in three most likely case scenarios, none of them spelled good news for the bears.
Eric Regehr, part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Services in Anchorage, Alaska, went to offer details.
Research for the study was based on extensive data gathered from about 35 years of surveys. The 19 different types of polar bears were observed and studied throughout all these years.
Amongst the study’s first conclusions was the fact that the bears seem to be struggling to resist. The respective polar bears inhabit four ecological areas included in the Arctic zone.
As the Arctic ice levels have been seen and are known to be decreasing, this is also affecting the bears. With the pieces or platforms of sea ice being used as either a food source or a habitat, their disappearance is affecting bear cycles.
The IUCN has also pointed out that the loss of sea ice is probably the most serious threat to the polar bears.
The IUCN assessment results were based on sensitivity analyses which were in turn based on the previously gathered data.
A such, the study evaluated the potential changes in the polar bear population in relation to the predicted sea-ice levels and conditions.
The results were less than optimistic. The first scenario predicted a proportional relation between the bear population and ice decline.
As the second and third scenarios revealed similar results, they nonetheless had a number of differences.
The second prediction targeted a specific polar specimen subtype which inhabits a smaller area. At the same time, the third prediction targeted the same bear specimens but spread across all four eco-zones.
With the predictions spanning over more than a 10 years time, all three generated similar results. As such, it is predicted that within a 35 to 41 times period, polar bear population numbers will drop by a third.
The average chance of this drop taking place registered a 70 percent average throughout the three predictions.
Unfortunately, climate changes and the global warming are not the polar bears’ only threat.
The polar bears have also unwillingly been subjected to a number of man-made chemicals. As these were mostly ingested from their food sources, they also came in more concentrated quantities.
One of the best-known and most harmful such chemicals is the PCB. The chemical was largely banned all over the world in the 1970’s.
Despite this, it was registered and had notable consequences on the polar bear population in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Although the PCB concentrations have been noted to have reduced, there are still causing trouble amongst the polar specimens.
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