Polar bears could be extinct by end of century due to climate change, predict researchers
"The trajectory we're on now is not a good one..."
Polar bears could be extinct by the end of the century due to climate change, researchers have predicted.
A recent study published in Nature Climate Change showed that rapidly shrinking sea ice could lead to the total wipe out of the polar bear species by 2100.
There are currently 25,000 polar bears living in the Arctic, relying on the sea ice as their main habitat and hunting ground.
"What we've shown is that, first, we'll lose the survival of cubs, so cubs will be born but the females won't have enough body fat to produce milk to bring them along through the ice-free season," Dr Steven Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International told BBC News.
"Any of us know that we can only go without food for so long, that's a biological reality for all species.
"Showing how imminent the threat is for different polar bear populations is another reminder that we must act now to head off the worst of future problems faced by us all."
It is expected that almost all 19 sub-populations of polar bears will be extinct by the end of the century if climate change and global warming are not tackled appropriately.
The Arctic region has rapidly warmed over the past few years, with the ice extent in the summer months declining by up to 13 percent compared to the 1981-2010 average.
"The trajectory we're on now is not a good one," said Dr Amstrup.
"But if society gets its act together, we have time to save polar bears. And if we do, we will benefit the rest of life on Earth, including ourselves."