Study: Arctic Polar Bears at Risk of Starvation

    Study: Arctic Polar Bears at Risk of Starvation
    Photo: David Yarrow/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, polar bears in the western Hudson Bay region of Canada's Manitoba are at risk of starvation in longer ice-free seasons in the Arctic, despite their willingness to adapt their diet.

    • For their study, researchers fitted 20 polar bears with geolocation-equipped video camera collars and tracked their activities, including movement rates, for three weeks during the summer months over three years (2019-2022).


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Climate change, which is lengthening periods without Arctic Sea ice, is the biggest threat to the survival of polar bears. It's forcing the animals to spend longer on land, where they can't survive, as their primary calorie-rich food source is difficult to access. The study is a stark reminder of the detrimental impacts of global warming and habitat loss.

    Narrative B

    The study simply contributes to our understanding of polar bear ecology as their natural habitat changes. 20 bears only represent a small population in one part of the Arctic. At higher latitudes, polar bears aren't experiencing the effects of climate change. There's no conclusive evidence to suggest that their dependence on sea ice makes polar bears vulnerable to rising temperatures.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the Arctic will be essentially ice-free by January 2038, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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