Polar bears have figured out that humans aren’t doing enough to stop climate change. Well, that might be a reach, but they’ve at least begun taking action themselves, as scientists are noticing changes within the habitats that polar bears inhabit. They’re seeing that as polar ice dwindles, polar bears are migrating further and further to the north to accommodate the changes in habitat – that are ultimately brought on by climate change.
Those conducting the research though were quick to point out that the move isn’t necessarily something that is happening within massive segments of the population. Rather, the shift that’s happening is both subtle and major. Sea ice plays a major role in the development and existence of polar bears – and ultimately if the polar ice shifts or dissipates in particular areas – then bears are forced to move to different regions where the ice is more regular.
“Sea ice is like a moving sidewalk and they travel with it,” according to Elizabeth Peacock. As the ice melts, and the density of ice is found in different areas – then more bears are likely to move. As more bears are likely to move, it creates a situation where more bears are led to leave. Polar bears will ultimately go where their food source is, as well as where their mates are located.
The trend has been moving in that direction though over the course of the last 15-45 years. This shift, though it was something that wasn’t specifically noticed right away – showed a shift in population distribution. That’s something that scientists hadn’t identified before.
However, a polar bear named Qannik, who lives at the Louisville Zoo celebrated it’s fourth birthday – and had a peanut butter cake to celebrate with. She was originally separated from her mother and siblings, and was rescued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Qannik was celebrating her fourth birthday after being discovered back in 2011.
Officials aren’t sure exactly how old she is now, since her exact birthday isn’t known – but they have estimated by the year. The overall polar bear situation is something that scientists have spent a lot of time trying to understand.