“The melting of sea ice, vital habitat to polar bears, will cause at least one third of the world’s 25,000 polar bears to disappear by the mid-21st Century, according to a new study done by research scientists from Canada, Norway and the United States.
“Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range,” said the study, published this month in the Royal Society science journal Biology Letters.
The scientists looked at four polar bear eco-regions and 19 subpopulations, in the Arctic as well as Canada’s Hudson Bay. They analyzed sea ice data and the shrinking Arctic ice pack over a 35 year period from 1979 to 2014.
“Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers owing to sea-ice loss, and highlight near-term uncertainty in statistical projections as well as the sensitivity of populations to different plausible assumptions,” said the study.