February 27 is an important day for one of the world’s largest non-aquatic predators– it’s International Polar Bear Day. This annual event raises awareness about the plight of these magnificent mammals.
The Plight of the Polar Bear
Like many other creatures, climate change is drastically impacting polar bears, Ursus maritimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the sea bears as Vulnerable and decreasing.
Polar bears depend on cold weather to survive. Global warming has reduced their sea ice habitat – which they depend on to survive. Besides global warming, other threats to polar bears include hunting,pollution and poaching.
It is estimated that only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears exist today and their population continues to decline. The United States Geological Survey estimates two-thirds of the entire polar bear population will be gone by 2050!