Dr Steven Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, told BBC News, ‘First, we’ll lose the survival of cubs, so cubs will be born but the females won’t have enough body fat to produce milk to bring them along through the ice-free season.’
‘As the ice breaks up, the animals are forced to roam for long distances or on to shore, where they struggle to find food and feed their cubs. Any of us know that we can only go without food for so long. That’s a biological reality for all species’.
The BBC’s science correspondent Victoria Gill said, ‘Polar bears have become the poster species for climate change, because their survival is linked to the sea ice, which they use as a platform to hunt for seals.
She went on to say, ‘This timeline is based on a ‘business as usual’ scenario regarding greenhouse emissions. The scientists say if countries act to reduce emissions quickly there is still a window of opportunity to save this arctic predator, and the frozen landscape it depends on.’
Polar bears are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The time to act is now.
This article originally appeared on marie claire U.K.