Each fall, polar bears seek refuge in the city of Kaktovik, Alaska. The Arctic village looks like a winter commercial with the white mammals dozing off while the cubs pose for amazed tourists. It may look cute, almost like a pop-up reservation, but reality is much crueler.
- The current situation of polar bears is more than concerning, the animals losing habitat faster than ever.
- Scientists counted approximately 80 animals in the Arctic village.
- With the current melting rate, the animals will soon become extinct.
Climate change has severely affected the animals’ habitat, the mammals relying on ice caps for shelter while hunting seals. Now, the polar bears are trapped on land, desperately seeking a place with enough food resources and shelter space.
The city’s polar bear patrol chases the mammals with spotlights and shells, and tourists come from all over the world to get a selfie with a polar bear in its natural habitat. However, the animals are suffering and it is humanity’s fault.
Researchers counted up to 80 polar bears in the small Arctic town of Kaktovik. In normal conditions, these animals would have spread over hundreds of miles, females traveling with their cubs while males faced the Arctic ices by themselves.
The dramatic situation of the bears is also downplayed during fall because their arrival usually coincides with the village’s whaling season. The refugee bears are healthy looking, fat with a shiny white coat, so tourists are enjoying the sight of well-fed specimens while other representatives of the species swim for more than half a month from ice cap to ice cap, many losing their life in the process due to malnutrition.
Even climate scientists were not expecting the high warming coefficient registered this year in the Arctic zone. The entire planet is feeling the effects of climate change, but the Arctic region is the most affected, the temperatures being twice as high as the usual limit, the ice caps melting at concerning speeds.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this November, sea ice levels were lower than ever. Moreover, during the first days of the month, ice grew faster than the usual rate, but then the ice cover suddenly started to lose its consistency, 19,000 square miles melting away.
The unprecedented loss of habitat affected the polar bears that usually spend their time in the vicinity of Barter Island, the animals retreating to Kaktovik.
Unfortunately, the polar bears are currently in a conflicting situation. On the one hand, they have become the poster animal for the adverse effects of climate change, but on the other, their plight is beginning to be downplayed by climate change deniers.
The current situation of polar bears is dramatic, to say the least. Their numbers are dwindling with every ice cap that melts. Meanwhile, tourists are taking pictures of fat, lazy bears that sought refuge near a village that doesn’t want them there.
Image source: Pixabay