Polar Bear and Cub
Arctic Ocean, north of Svalbard, Norway
A pair of polar bears traverse across sea ice in the Arctic Circle north of Norway. Polar bears are now forecast to be nearly extinct by the end of this century due to the impacts of global warming which are shrinking their sea ice habitat. The summer sea ice extent has been steadily declining since 1980 when satellite imaging first made its study quantification possible. Each decade, the summer sea extent has declined by 13% and there is now approximately half the summer sea ice that there was when the studies began. If there is no sea ice, polar bears cannot hunt for their food, and eventually, the length of this non-hunting time will exceed what they can fast for. Reducing our collective carbon footprint and the production of greenhouse gasses will yield benefits for hundreds of millions, possibly billions of people that currently live close to sea level by reducing the melting of our polar ice caps; taking these actions will also give this charismatic megafauna, polar bears, a better chance for survival.