Canada's polar bear population is rapidly shrinking, according to a research
Particularly in Hudson Bay, researchers report a sharp decline in the number of female bears and cubs.
According to a recent government assessment, polar bears are rapidly disappearing from the western part of Hudson Bay at the southernmost point of the Canadian Arctic.
Particularly, the number of female bears and their pups has dramatically decreased.
Every five years, scientists have flown over the area, which includes Churchill, a popular tourist attraction dubbed the "polar bear capital of the world," to count the bears and estimate 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.
According to the study, there may be a decline in the abundance of the WH (Western Hudson Bay population) based on comparisons between aerial survey estimates from 2011 and 2016.
Additionally, between 2011 and 2021, "substantial reductions in the number of adult female and subadult bears [cubs] were revealed."
The researchers concluded that "the observed decreases are consistent with long-standing expectations regarding the demographic consequences of climate change on polar bears."
They also suggested that the population drop may have been caused by bears being relocated to nearby areas and by shooting.
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 freezes longer in the fall and breaks up earlier in the spring.
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