Study Melting Sea Ice Spells Death for Polar Bears

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Arctic sea ice is melting at an alarming rate, impacting polar bears that heavily depend on the ice for various activities such as hunting, mating, and raising their young. A recent study, conducted by researchers from the University of Wyoming based on fieldwork in the Arctic, delves into the health implications of this ice loss on polar bears.

The study reveals that the shrinking spring hunting season and prolonged summers with food scarcity lead to physiological stress in polar bears. These bears must rely on stored energy acquired in the spring to survive the majority of the year. Insufficient spring food intake results in bears entering winter in a weakened state. Contrary to previous suggestions that polar bears could compensate for summer food scarcity through a form of walking hibernation, the study found otherwise. Polar bears, like their brown bear relatives, are incapable of reducing their metabolic rate to the extent seen in winter hibernation. This implies limitations on how long bears can go without feeding in the summer.

With an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the Arctic, the study emphasizes the urgent need for their protection. It underscores the crucial role of addressing sea ice loss by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, making a plea for global efforts to prevent the extinction of polar bears.


1- What is the primary focus of the study conducted by researchers from the University of Wyoming?

2- What happens if polar bears don't get enough food in the spring, according to the study?

3- What does the study reveal about polar bears' ability to conserve energy in the summer?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article  Voice of America..