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Polar Bears are Starving, Thanks to Global Warming

polar bear, global warmingWhen people casually joke about global warming, they often bring up the demise of the world’s polar bears. It’s all fun and games until we find out that they really are having a hard time up there in the Arctic.

A picture posted on Facebook by Photographer Kerstin Langenberger recently caused a stir when it depicted a polar bear near the Svalbard area of Norway in its natural habitat. The bear appeared to be extremely thin and malnourished while walking along an ice float. Langenberger claims that she cannot scientifically link this starving bear to global warming, according to the Tech Times. However, it wasn’t hard for social media users to draw the conclusion.

Female polar bears, in particular, may especially be at risk. Typically, they cannot leave their young for an extended period of time to find food. When it becomes more challenging to find food, their health suffers. Female bears also tend to spend more time on land, rather than ice (like the males). As ice recedes, females are often stranded on land, where there is a limited supply of food.

Without breaking too many hearts, let’s take a look at three other animals are being impacted by the planet’s changing climate.

1. Sea turtles.
The erosion of nesting beaches caused by rising sea levels have interfered with the breeding process of many sea turtles, according to the New England Aquarium. Green turtles, Kemp’s ridleys and loggerheads are already considered to be endangered.

2. North Atlantic cod.
It isn’t just over-fishing that’s hurting the population anymore, according to National Geographic. Changing ocean currents and cold Arctic waters are also endangering North Atlantic cod.

3. Giant Panda.
The Giant Panda’s natural habitat in southwestern China is constantly changing, making it difficult for the animal’s population to stay together. Bamboo, the Giant Panda’s main food source, may also be in danger as a result of climate change, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

It’s important to remember that while humans are directly responsible for the populations of some animals (e.g., fish and over-fishing), the shifting climate has a strong impact on these creatures as well. Polar bears may be starving, but they aren’t the only ones who deserve attention. Unfortunately, they just happen to be the starving animals opening people’s eyes on social media.


Sources

  • Dell’Amore, Christine. “7 Species Hit Hard by Climate Change — Including One That’s Already Extinct.” National Geographic. April 2, 2014.
  • Doctor, Rina Maria. “Polar Bears Are Starving Because Of Climate Change.” Tech Times. September 17, 2015.
  • “Species threatened by climate change.” WWF. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  • “Climate change effects on ocean animals.” New England Aquarium. Retrieved September 23, 2015.