Climate change threatening polar bears in Canada
Polar bears currently outnumber the residents of a small town in Canada’s tundra, but that may change soon. Climate change has sped up the ice melting season in Churchill, Manitoba, a town of about 800 residents — and 900 polar bears.
Experts say the perennial thaw now begins in mid-June, a full 30 days earlier than three decades ago, which means the polar bears spend more time on land. It also means the bears are eating less and birthing smaller cubs that are not as likely to survive.
Scientists like Dr. Steve Amstrup of the conservation group Polar Bears International rank polar bears’ weight on a 1-5 scale where one is starving and five is obese.
Amstrup says most of the bears he’s seen this year are between 2 and 3, which he says indicates a bear that hasn’t eaten in a few months.
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