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A new study warns of a decline in the number of polar bears in Canada

A recent government study showed that polar bears in western Hudson Bay in northern Canada are rapidly disappearing, in this region near the North Pole, which records one of the highest rates of warming in the world due to climate change.

The researchers counted 194 bears from the end of August to the beginning of September 2021, while they were flying over Churchill, an area at the edge of the Arctic in the Canadian province of Manitoba that declared itself the “capital of polar bears.” According to this census, the researchers estimated that there were 618 polar bears in the area.

The previous census, conducted in 2016, estimated that there were 842 polar bears in this area, and the new study concludes: “Comparison with aerial survey estimates for 2011 and 2016 indicates that bear numbers in western Hudson Bay may be declining.”

The researchers noted that female polar bears and their young were particularly affected by the decline.

They pointed out that they are unable to confirm the reasons for this decrease with certainty. They presented possible factors, including the migration of these animals to neighboring areas or even hunting.

They noted that “the observed declines are consistent with long-term expectations about the effects of climate change on polar bear numbers.”

Bears depend on the ice to feed on seals, move about and reproduce.

Arctic melt
But the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the world, according to the latest studies.
The sea ice layer, home to the polar bear, is gradually receding. Since the 1980s, ice has shrunk by nearly 50 percent in the summer, according to the National Ice and Snow Data Center.
According to a report published by Nature Climate Change in 2020, this could be an indication of the almost complete extinction of these highly symbolic animals, after they numbered 1,200 in the 1980s.



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