What Do Polar Bears Have To Do With Climate Change?

Due to changes in the amount and location of summer sea ice, Andrew Derocher, curator of the University of Alberta Museums Mammology Collection, and a team of researchers have found that polar bears facing a long-distance swim are endangering their lives. While some of the bears are well equipped for swimming, the youngest, oldest and skinniest bears are more vulnerable to the harsh water conditions over extended distances. Greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming has been seen as the trigger for this drastic change of habitat for the polar bears according to Derocher’s study.

Photo Credit:

Polar Bear photo taken by Andy Derocher

Related Links:

Sink or swim: polar bears swimming more as sea ice retreats

Polar bears not finding adequate food on land to prevent weight loss

Joseph Dewey Soper

Fast Facts:

  • Over 3,500 of the approximately 11,000 specimens in the Mammalogy Collection are attributed to J.D. Soper. Soper was a Canadian Arctic ornithologist, zoologist and explorer who made three arctic expeditions during the 1920s. 
  • There are 11 polar bear skull and skin specimens in the Collection. The majority were collected in Canada, either in Nunavut, Manitoba or the Northwest Territories.