February 6, 2023

A polar bear walks alongside the shores of Hudson Bay close to Churchill, Manitoba on August 23, 2010. Polar bears in Canada’s western Hudson Bay – on the southern fringe of the Arctic – proceed to die in giant numbers, in keeping with a brand new authorities examine. launched Thursday discovered.

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press through AP, File


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Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press through AP, File


A polar bear walks alongside the shores of Hudson Bay close to Churchill, Manitoba on August 23, 2010. Polar bears in Canada’s western Hudson Bay – on the southern fringe of the Arctic – proceed to die in giant numbers, in keeping with a brand new authorities examine. launched Thursday discovered.

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press through AP, File

Polar bears in Canada’s western Hudson Bay – on the southern fringe of the Arctic – proceed to die in giant numbers, a brand new authorities examine of land-based predators has discovered. It’s particularly troublesome for females and cubs.

Researchers surveyed West Hudson Bay – house of Churchill, town dubbed “the polar bear capital of the world” – from the air in 2021 and calculated that there have been 618 bears there, up from 842 in 2016, after they have been final surveyed.

“The precise decline is way bigger than I anticipated,” mentioned Andrew Derocher, a biology professor on the College of Alberta who has studied Hudson’s Bay polar bears for nearly 4 a long time. Desrocher didn’t take part within the examine.

The authors discovered that the variety of bears within the area has declined by nearly 50% for the reason that Eighties. The ice they should survive is disappearing.

Polar bears depend on Arctic sea ice — frozen ocean water — that shrinks in summer time at hotter temperatures and re-forms in the course of the lengthy winter. They use it for looking, touchdown close to holes in thick ice to identify seals, their favourite meals, popping out into the open. However as a result of the Arctic is warming twice as quick as the remainder of the world as a consequence of local weather change, sea ice cracks early within the 12 months and takes longer to freeze within the fall.

In consequence, many polar bears dwelling within the Arctic have much less ice on which to dwell, hunt and breed.

Polar bears aren’t solely necessary predators within the Arctic. For years, earlier than local weather change started to have an effect on folks all over the world, they have been additionally essentially the most well-known face of local weather change.

The focus of younger bear and feminine deaths in western Hudson Bay is alarming, researchers say.

“We now have at all times predicted that some of these bears can be affected by modifications within the atmosphere,” mentioned Stephen Atkinson, lead writer who has been learning polar bears for over 30 years.

Younger bears want vitality to develop and can’t survive for lengthy durations of time with out sufficient meals, and feminine bears wrestle as a result of they expend a lot vitality caring for and elevating their offspring.

“It actually raises questions on present viability,” Desrochers mentioned. “It is the reproductive engine of the inhabitants.”

Atkinson mentioned the power of polar bears to breed in western Hudson Bay will lower “since you simply have fewer younger bears that survive and develop into adults.”

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