Canada Global (Web News) According to a recent government assessment, polar bears are rapidly disappearing from the western side of Hudson Bay, at the southernmost point of the Canadian Arctic.
Particularly, the number of female bears and their pups has dramatically decreased.
The town of Churchill, a well-known tourist destination known as the “polar bear capital of the world,” is included in the area that scientists fly over every five years to count the bears and determine population trends.
They observed 194 bears during the most recent survey, which was conducted in late August and early September 2021, and based on that count, they calculated that there were 618 bears overall, down from 842 five years earlier.
The study concluded that there may be a decline in the abundance of the WH (Western Hudson Bay population) based on comparisons to aerial survey estimates from 2011 and 2016.
Between 2011 and 2021, it also “indicated considerable reductions in the quantity of adult female and subadult bears (cubs).”
According to previous projections about the demographic consequences of climate change on polar bears, “the observed decreases are consistent with those expectations,” the researchers noted.
As a result of the far north warming up to four times faster than the rest of the world, the sea ice habitat for bears has been disappearing at an alarming rate.
The thickness of the sea ice has decreased, and it now breaks up earlier in the spring and freezes later in the fall.
The ice is essential to bear locomotion, reproduction, and seal foraging.
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, the bay’s summer ice pack has shrunk by close to 50% during the 1980s.