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< Back to question Will polar bears become extinct in the future? Show more Show less

Polar bears live in Antarctica and artic regions. Their fur coats keep them warm in these frigid areas. This means they can only function in those areas. But their habitat is threatened by global warming. Global warming is melting the glaciers and ice plains, minimizing the amount of territory polar bears and their prey’s territory. At this rate, will polar bears be extinct in the future?

Yes, polar bears will become extinct in the future Show more Show less

Polar bears are very sensitive organisms. They can only survive in artic regions of the world like Antarctica. As time passes by, they are in danger of becoming extinct.
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The polar bear's prey is waning due to habitat loss caused by climate change

Habitat loss is an issue for all different types of organisms. It is especially true for polar bears. Climate change is causing the ice and snow they live on to melt. As their ice habitat wanes, so does their ability to find prey.
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Context

In 1975, scientists found trace amounts of airplane fuel gas in the ozone layer. Because of the gases, the ozone layer surrounding earth was believed to be in danger. The ozone layer is a part of the earth’s atmosphere that keeps a large amount of the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays from negatively affecting humans and the environment. To try and reduce emissions, scientists and activists have tried to find solutions. Polar bears are artic predators that live exclusively in artic regions such as Alaska, Russia, Antarctica, and Greenland. Due to rising global temperatures, scientists have noticed that artic regions are melting and causing polar bears to decline. One reason is because their prey has become more dispersed. Just like polar bears, seals and other artic prey need the ice habitat.

The Argument

Global warming and climate change have been hard on ecosystems and organisms. The increased temperature has caused some animals to migrate to different areas and vegetation to boom early. The Artic and snowy regions are also negatively impacted by the changes. Namely seals, the polar bear’s prey animals. Because the ice is melting, they will struggle to survive.[1] Artic seals rely on ice to survive. Firstly, seals build dens out of the ice when giving birth.[2] Without it, the number of pups being born would decrease over time. Secondly, the seal’s body is built for it. Because of the cold water and environment, seals have a large amount of fat stored to make a blubber layer to keep them insulated from the cold (3). However, this layer must be supplied by the food the seal must eat. Unfortunately, with the climate change and habitat damage, the fish that seals eat are disappearing with the ice.[3] As the ice melts more, seals will start to become scarcer and more scattered across the artic regions. Seals are the polar bears staple food. This means polar bears will have to travel farther distances to find seals.[4] Considering that polar bears only succeed in catching prey less than 2% of the time, they can’t afford to make such long-distance trips.

Counter arguments

Climate change and global warming has negatively impacted the artic. The ice plains and glaciers are melting. Because of this, polar bears and their prey animals are suffering from the impact. But there is hope. Although seals are the polar bear’s favorite source of food, it should be noted that polar bears eat more than just seals. Polar bears are mostly scavengers. Whale carcasses, berries (depending on the region), and even trash is seen as nourishment for polar bears.[5] That means polar bears have ways of not going hungry. Polar bears are resilient creatures. With the fat they have stored in their bodies, they can withstand days of not eating.[6] They can adapt to any environmental change just like any other organism. Polar bears will survive in the end.

Premises

[P1] Polar bears rely on seals as a main source of food to survive. [P2] Polar bears will have to travel further to find prey, which will be trouble for them.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] Polar bears are natural scavengers and can survive well without seals, even if it’s their preferred food. [P2] Polar bears are adaptable creatures that can learn to travel long distances for food.

References

  1. https://abcnews.go.com/US/polar-bears-extinct-2100-arctic-ice-melts-projected/story?id=71895289
  2. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/environment/mammals_seals.html
  3. https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/polar-bears-and-climate-change
  4. https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/fascinating-facts/polar-bears
  5. https://animalcorner.org/animals/polar-bear/
  6. https://www.seeker.com/why-polar-bears-are-fat-but-have-healthy-hearts-1768544058.html

This page was last edited on Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 at 13:16 UTC

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