Can you think of giant bears with white fur that live in the cold Arctic? These bears are called polar bears. Unfortunately, polar bears are an endangered species. Learn some of the different causes of polar bear endangerment in this lesson.
Endangered Animals and Polar Bears
Many animals around the world are considered endangered species. Endangered species are animals that are in danger of becoming extinct, or no longer living on Earth.
Loss of habitat and hunting threatens their existence. The endangered species list was updated to include the polar bear in 2008.Can you think of a place that is icy, cold and perfect for polar bears to live? Polar bears mostly live on the ice of the Arctic near the North Pole.
They live in Norway, Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska.
Global Warming in the Arctic
Have you ever seen your parents or other adults get the emissions checked on their cars? The emissions inspection is to reduce car exhaust fumes, which cause air pollution. Air pollution from car exhaust, smoke from factories and other places cause dangerous holes to develop in the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is a protective layer of gases that surrounds the earth’s atmosphere. It helps to block some of the incredibly hot and powerful rays of the sun. Blocking these rays keeps Earth at a safe temperature for living things.
Unfortunately, the holes formed in the ozone layer allow more heat to get to the earth from the sun. The extra heat causes temperatures to increase around the world and is known as global warming.Global warming is especially harmful to polar bears since they live, eat and raise cubs on enormous chunks of ice, frozen over the Arctic Ocean. Global warming causes the ice to melt and break apart. When the ice breaks apart, polar bear families, especially cubs, can drift too far away from each other and away from food sources, which they need to survive.
Studies show that polar bears are having fewer babies in this declining habitat. Declining habitat is one reason that polar bears are on the endangered species list.
What Do Polar Bears Eat?
Polar bears mostly eat seals, which provide them with the large amounts of fat they need to live. At times, polar bears also eat walruses, smaller beluga whales, and seabirds. Baby seals, called pups, live on the Arctic ice. Polar bears eat seal pups, so when ice melts and seal pups drift too far out, this reduces the polar bears’ food supply.
Polar bears hunt adult seals by grabbing them from the water surrounding the Arctic ice. The melting of Arctic ice destroys polar bears’ hunting areas. Less hunting areas decrease the amount of seals available for polar bears to eat and is also leading to the endangerment of polar bears.
Oil and Gas Found in the Arctic
The discovery of oil and gas in the Artic has also disrupted Arctic habitats. The mining process destroys the ecosystem. The noise and people cause certain animals to leave, such as seals, which are food for polar bears. Seals moving away due to loss of habitat adds to the lack of food for a polar bear.
Polar bears are an endangered species, which means that they are in danger of becoming extinct, or no longer living on Earth.
Polar bears live on the enormous amounts of ice over the Arctic Ocean. Destruction of their habitat because of global warming caused by holes in the ozone layer, oil and gas mining, and the reduction of seals available to eat in their habitat are some of the reasons they have become an endangered species.