Can we save polar bears by moving them to Antarctica?

by Anya Dimelow 27 February, 2016 4 Comments

Can we save polar bears by moving them to Antarctica?

Ice loss due to climate change is the cause of the dramatic fall in polar bear populations. Between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears live globally today, but their numbers are expected to decline by two-thirds in the coming 35-40 years.

“Why do polar bears need snow to survive? Why can’t they live without ice?” asks Mila, age 8. “If the Arctic is melting, why don’t polar bears go somewhere else, like Antarctica, or some other place where there is lots of snow?”

Read our answers below…  

Q: Why do polar bears need ice and snow to survive?

A: Because of the extremely cold climate, polar bears need food with a high content of fat and that makes seals their ideal prey. Polar bears need ice to capture their prey. They sit near the breathing holes and wait for a seal to pop up. Without sea ice, bears won’t be able to catch any seals. All other food that can be found by polar bears – fish, eggs, reindeer, and human garbage – is not so high in calories. Polar bears will starve on that food alone. 

polar-bear-hunting-ice

Polar bears need ice to capture their prey. 

Snow is important too. Polar bear cubs are born in the snow dens made by their mothers. Male polar bears make slipping dens for themselves in case of the extreme cold weather. Sometimes polar bears roll in the snow – to keep their fur clean or to cool off if they get hot. 

Q: Can they live somewhere else where there is snow?

A: It’s not snow, but sea ice and seals that are important for the polar bears. The top Arctic predator can be found in all territories of the Northern Hemisphere, where both sea ice and the seal population are present: Northern America (USA, Canada and Greenland), Eurasia (Norway and Russia). The only territory that has sea ice and seals and is not inhabited by the polar bear is Antarctica.

Q: Can’t polar bear move to Antarctica?

A: An Introduction of polar bears to Antarctica is not a simple solution and includes many risks. Animals of the Antarctica, particularly penguins, could become easy prey for polar bears. Penguins do not expect any danger on the land and use it as their safe breeding ground.

Can you imagine the devastation that will happen if a polar bear stumbles upon penguin's breeding ground or a baby 'crèche'? (© Fred Olivier/nature.pl)

Similarly, seals of Antarctica don’t have any fear of things on the surface. (Biologists are even able to simply walk up to them, roll them over, and measure their lengths!). It wouldn’t take long for the polar bears to wipe out all of the penguins and the seals. Left with no food, the polar bears would not survive either.

The conclusion? The only thing really that will save polar bears in the long run is to cut greenhouse gases and stop the warming of the planet.





Anya Dimelow
Anya Dimelow

Author


4 Responses

Brian
Brian

03 July, 2019

Oh my gosh I finally heard some real truth about this fake global warming nonsense. All you have to think about is the last ice age in the last warming age there were no fossil fuels burning at those times was there so what stopped the warming and brought the cold and wet Stop the cold and bought the warming it’s just a money-making scheme to scare people and that’s all it’s taught in any type of schools now so they only get one side

Robert
Robert

22 June, 2019

Yeah? A small group of Polar Bears, strategically placed and monitored in Antarctica is a worthwhile endeavor. Penguins have to deal with Leopard Seals and Orcas in and out of the water. They know of the dangers they face right now and avoid them. The unwillingness to even try a small experiment says one thing, the Polar Bear is being used by the GW community as a pawn in their activism.

Gabin
Gabin

14 February, 2019

Speaking of biodiversity, have you ever wondered what a cynical creep looks like in the wild? There it is, a Frog working for Poles (Fred Olivier/nature.pl).

They couldn’t care less for the bears, it’s all about trying to blame global warming on our civilization. Shaming factories for all evils, See, shame on you, all these starving bears it’s all your fault. Like they fail to point out that the world is 75% oceans, that human plastic pollution is having such a devastating effect on wildlife, there isn’t a single fish without some form of micro-plastics in its flesh.

Computer models show, that even if you wanted to, by running every single man-made device on Earth continuously, non-stop for centuries, it wouldn’t have the slightest effect on the Sun’s heating of the planet.

Ice-ages come and go, since forever (America was once covered under 2 miles of ice), it depends on Earths inclination towards the sun, the Precession (look it up). It’s what makes temperatures change from -30C to +30C, summer to winter, the inclination of Earth towards the Sun. Now we are at the end of an ice-age and entering into a period of global warming, expected to last 13,000 years, give or take.

What they are really trying to do, is move factories from Europe and America, where they are highly regulated and subject to extremely rigorous and thorough pollution controls, to places like India where there are none. And if there are, you just give some upper-cast local authority a bribe and all is groovy.

India is the world’s number one pollutant, both industrial and population wise, with over a billion people throwing away plastic-bags, bottles and whatever they like without any recycling whatsoever or absolutely no government control of any kind. Just dump it the nearest stream and forget about it!

That is the real threat to nature and wildlife, the clear and present danger everybody refuses to acknowledge, because it costs too much.

Anyway, as far as polar bears are concerned, there would be absolutely no problem in moving, slowly, incrementally, a few couples to Antarctica. Should they get out of control, you do like with the elephants in Africa, you cull 50,000 of them in one go, if you must. And as for any exotic pathogens they might bring with them, how cynical can you get, when every year thousands of tourists, scientists and military bases, dwell all across the continent, spreading whatever it is they carry. Keep in mind, though, that no one ever catches the flu in Antarctica; it’s too cold even for microbes to multiply!

Paul
Paul

20 September, 2018

Wait a minute you are suggesting the polar bear is an indiscriminate killer and would just kill? Also the water is a long way from the nesting grounds and the seals would respond to danger as any animal would. Bad assumption.

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