Polar today.Presently the main concern for Polar Bears

bears inhabit almost all areas of the tundra region, with around 60%
living within Canada. Polar bears are at the top of the food chain
with their only predators being humans and eachother. Historically
they have been hunted commerically and also for their hides, a great
prize among trophy hunters. This continued unregulated until 1973
when an accord was signed to regulate practices and to conserve polar
bears. The Agreement on the conservation on Polar Bears was a
landmark agreement involving Canada, Denmark, Norway, USA and Russia
and it still remains today.Presently the main concern for
Polar Bears is loss of habitat and reduced access to prey and
breeding sites due to rising temperatures causing sea-ice loss. They
rely almost entirely on sea-ice because their main prey, the ringed
seal, is highly dependent on it too. The ringed seal is the only food
source available to them with a high enough fat content to keep them
healthy. Although polar bears are strong swimmers, a
reduction in sea ice means that they are being forced to swim for
longer distances between ice to catch their prey. Researchers have
sadly reported that due to a lack of ice flows, there has been an
increase in cases of Polar Bears drowning from exhaustion.
Conversely, if the bears decide to stay on shore then it is likely
that they will be forced into fasting until the summer period is over
due to the lack of prey available to them. This sometimes leads to
starvation and subsquently the death of the polar bear.Human-polar
bear interactions are another downside to sea-ice loss. Scared and
undernourished Polar Bears have started venturing into residential
areas in search of food in Northern communities. This also applies to
growing tourism in the tundra region, as polar bears and inquisitive,
curious creatures that get drawn in by sounds and smells coming from
campsites and visitors on shore. The consequences of these encounters
are usually tragic for both the human and the polar bear.Due
to them living in remote and hard to access areas, it is difficult to
monitor exact numbers and although there is no specific data from
some areas in Russia and Greenland, the ICUN estimates that there are
roughly 26,000 polar bears left and as such they are now listed as a
vulnerable species. Though at the top of the food chain and pose no
risk from other predators, the polar bear has clearly been put at
great risk because of human interactions. Lack of sea ice is
unfortuantely just the tip of the iceberg and other factors including
oil and gas exploration, tourisms, mining and shipping are also
adding to the loss of this beautiful creature.


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