It’s getting harder and harder for Canada’s polar bears to survive. The population around Hudson Bay has fallen by more than a quarter in the past five years, according to a report from the Canadian government.
Every five years, the government counts the polar bears around Hudson Bay, a large inland sea in eastern Canada where the animals are common. The city of Churchill was even called the polar bear capital of the world.
Five years ago, more than eight hundred polar bears were counted, and this year there were just over six hundred. The decline really began in the 1980s, but it has never been so fast.
According to the report, climate change is the main cause. The Arctic region is warming faster than the rest of the world, which has dire consequences for the habitats available to polar bears. Earlier this year, a polar bear was seen for the first time in southern Canada.
The ice is also melting faster, reducing polar bear hunting grounds. This leads to a shortage of available food, such as seals. Females and young polar bears in particular suffer from this.
According to lead researcher John Whitman, polar bears are at risk of extinction due to starvation. This could happen as early as 2050.
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