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The Effects of Climate Change on Polar Bears BY: Elizabeth Kelchner, Katelin Hancock, and Lara Rizzuti.

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Presentation on theme: "The Effects of Climate Change on Polar Bears BY: Elizabeth Kelchner, Katelin Hancock, and Lara Rizzuti."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effects of Climate Change on Polar Bears BY: Elizabeth Kelchner, Katelin Hancock, and Lara Rizzuti

2 The Polar Bear’s History Experts believe that the polar bear developed up to two-hundred thousand years ago through convergent evolution. Recently discovered fossils reveal evidence of a change in the molar teeth between the brown and polar bear species.

3 Since the Pleistocene period, polar bears have adapted to fit a very particular niche of our environment. Their anatomical structure, hunting habits, and nutritional needs have evolved specifically to accompany the arctic climate and ecosystem. Semi-Transparent Fur Heightened Sense of Smell Furred and Wide Paws 42 Teeth

4 “Running Across Ice…and Time” Large sheets of sea ice are crucial to their hunting and migratory patterns. The arctic environment serves as both a home and protection to the bears.

5 DecliningStableIncreasingData deficient Baffin BayN. Beaufort SeaM’Clintock Channel Arctic Basin S. Beaufort SeaGulf of Boothia Barents Sea Chukchi SeaS. Hudson Bay East Greenland Davis Strait Foxe Basin W. Hudson Bay Laptev Sea Lancaster Sound Kara Sea Kane Basin Viscount Melville Norwegian Bay What’s the big deal??? Changes of the Subpopulations of Polar Bears

6  Fossil fuel, agriculture, and human activity has increased greenhouse gases  Build up of carbon dioxide from carbon emissions  For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is predicted for a range of emission scenarios How is the climate changing?

7  Increasing species extinctions Reduction of coral reefs, mangrove forests, and tropical rainforests Threats to small island states in the Pacific as sea levels rise Increasing drought threats in Africa More severe flooding in densely populated river deltas in Asia More severe weather in hurricane prone zones Consequences

8 How is the climate change affecting polar bears?

9 Since the bears are unable to store enough fat, the newborn cubs are weighing less and are less likely to survive than the cubs with appropriate nutrients. How is the climate change affecting polar bears?

10 When the ice melts, polar bears swim to find new ice sheets, since the ice is becoming rare, the polar bears drown before they ever reach the ice. How is the climate change affecting polar bears?

11 Polar bears rarely suffer from disease and infections, but warmer climates provide disease causing bacteria and parasites to flourish more readily. The amount of polar bear and human interaction has increased. Polar bears have less room to roam and hungry bears are searching for food on land.

12  Polar bears are losing their natural prey due to global warming  Not very good at catching land animals such as caribou and land animals have low fat content  Some bears have resorted to cannibalism Food sources

13 Polar bear domicile  Polar bear dens on the packed ice declined from 62% between 1985 and 1994 to 37% between 1998 and 2004  Availability and quality of ice dens for polar bears are on the decline

14  Polar bears have been wandering into human establishments looking for food and shelter  As the ice continues to melt, more and more unwanted polar bear interactions are happening Human interactions

15 Why should we care about the polar bear?  Besides being cute and cuddly, they play an important part in the food chain  Biodiversity is important in an environment  They serve as a good way to observe the effects of climate change

16 Changes alter the period of ice coverage ・ Bears may spend greater amounts of time on land. ・ Extended use of terrestrial areas would ultimately effect physical condition of bears when forced to rely on fat stores. ・ Decreased physical condition could effect production and survival.

17 Climate changes on prey species will have a negative effect on polar bears: ・ Increased snow can result in reduced success in successfully entering seal birth lairs. ・ Decreased snow or increased seasonal rain patterns could effect seals by not providing adequate snow for construction of birth habitats or if rain fall by collapsing birth habitats thus reducing seal productivity. ・ Prey reductions could effect polar bear condition and ultimately cub production and survival.

18 Denning could be impacted by unusual warm spells: ・ Access to high quality denning areas may be limited or restricted ・ Rain or warming could directly cause snow dens to collapse or be opened to ambient conditions ・ Loss of thermal insulate properties in opened dens could affect litter survival

19 Ways to Help Polar Bears 1) Plant a Tree: Planting a tree is one of the easiest and earth-friendly projects you can partake in to fight excessive carbon dioxide. 2) Adopt a Polar Bear: Each Adoption of a Polar Bear supports a Polar Bear in the wild. You can choose from a $200, $100, $50, or a $25 Adoption. 3)Join or donate to Polar Bear S.O.S. Campaign 4) Send a letter to Congress!


21 Sources: ActionBioScience.Org- Polar Bears International- The Daily Galaxy photo- be.html Wilderness Wonders photo- Wikipedia photo- Canada Outdoor World bears bears wiseGEEK - warming.htm warming.htm ・ ・

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