As the Arctic ice cap shrinks, so does the polar bear population. From 2004 to 2006, a bear population living in northern Alaska and northwest Canada fell between 25 to 50 percent, before easing up to about 900 animals in 2010. Overall, in the decade between 2001 and 2010, the polar bear population fell 40 percent from a high of more than 1,200.
Without thick ice, polar bears can’t venture far to search for their most common food source, aquatic seals. Here you can see a polar bear try to make his/her way across thin ice
The distance Polar bears are required to swim to obtain food is growing, and some scientists worry that as these distances grow the polar bear population will come under increasingly deadly stress. In one example, a mother had to swim nine days and 426 miles — resulting in her loss of 22% of her body weight. Her cub died.
The polar bear has become a symbol of the plight of animals in the face of global warming, and for good reason. They need the Arctic ice to survive.
So when the holiday coke commercials showing playful polar bears sliding across the ice to enjoy a coke begin, think about the real bears fighting for their lives. If only the ice caps were strong enough for them to survive.