Canada’s Western Hudson Bay polar bear population has fallen 27 percent in just five years, according to a government report, suggesting climate change is impacting the animals.
Every fall, bears living along the western edge of Hudson Bay pass through the sub-Arctic tourist town of Churchill, Manitoba, as they return to the sea ice. This has made the population not only the best studied group in the world, but also the most famous, with the local bear-viewing economy valued at $5.3 million annually.
However, the government of Nunavut’s assessment finds that just 618 bears remained in 2021 - a roughly 50 percent drop from the 1980s.
Polar bears depend on sea ice to hunt, staking out over seal breathing holes. But the Arctic is now warming about four times faster than the rest of the world. Around Hudson Bay, seasonal sea ice is melting earlier in the spring and forming later in the fall, forcing bears to go longer without food. (Reuters)