Climate Change Is Pushing The Polar Bear North, Putting Their Survival At Risk Read m
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Climate Change Is Pushing The Polar Bear North, Putting Their Survival At Risk Read m
Quote:Climate Change Is Pushing The Polar Bear North, Putting Their Survival At Risk

As the Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the Canadian polar bear has begun to migrate north to take up permanent residency in Canada’s High Arctic islands, reports Yahoo.

This may not seem like a bad thing, but it could very well decrease the species’ genetic diversity and lower their chances of survival in the future.

An international research team analyzed DNA from four Canadian polar bears blood samples. Researchers found that over the course of one to three generations a one-way flow of genetic material had developed, toward the Canadian Archipelago and its year-round sea ice supply.

This means that southern polar bear population is moving north and settling in. As a result, the risk of the polar bear going extinct in the wild greatly increases. As the polar bear population becomes more isolated, they begin to inbreed weakening them genetically.

“This movement of genes is not necessarily a bear packing up and heading north, but it’s a subtle inching of animals through mating and migration happening over generations,” explains Lily Peacock, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and co-author of the new study. The study was published in the journal Plos One.

Peacock also stated that the population shift is not something that researchers can see with their eyes. Instead, she says that the genetic information from the study gives a sense of what is likely to occur in the future

The only good researchers can find with this migration is that the warmer environment could mean more prey for the polar bears in the Canadian Archipelago, aiding in their survival.

At the present time, the sea ice is so thick that light does not penetrate it well. Less light results in fewer phytoplanktons, which results in less food for the seals resulting in less seals for the bears to eat, reports

“While this improvement may happen, it could just be an intermediary betterment. With seasonal ice, and the ice-free period of the year will become longer and longer, which makes the bears come on land more. If polar bears are going to continue to live anywhere in the Arctic, it’ll be where ice is going to persist,” said Peacock.

Canada’s entire polar bear population could very likely vanish as a result of starvation and inbreeding causing reproductive failure by 2100. The study says for the polar bear this could be the “point of no return.”

“The previous work on the long-term trends in polar bear habitat indicated that the high Arctic was a likely refuge for polar bears,” Andrew Derocher, a biology professor and coauthor of the study.

[Image: Polar-Bears-Tundra-Lodge-1-closeup-665x385.jpg]
2015 Jan 10 17:00
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