Today about 25,000 polar bears are left in the wild. Yet climate change hungers them to extinction
Polar bears may all but vanish within the span of a human lifetime according to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Researchers studied 12 out of 13 subpopulations and found that the ecosystem could be decimated by the galloping rate of change in the Arctic within 80 years, which is warming up twice as quickly as the entire earth.
They are now trapped in a brutal downward spiral in some areas, with diminishing sea-ice cutting short the hunting seals ‘ time for bears.
Their dwindling body weight undermines their chances of surviving food-less Arctic winters, scientists said.
However if mankind could keep global warming at 2.4 degrees Celsius it possibly would just prolong the extinction of the polar bears.
The challenge is not rising temperatures per se but the failure of top-of-the-food-chain predators to adapt to a fast-changing climate.
Half of Earth’s land-based megafauna is listed as endangered but only polar bears are mainly endangered by climate change.
But that status may not be special for long, according to the writers of the study, and should be seen as a indication of how climate will affect many species in the coming decades.