For food, polar bears enjoy phocid seals, as well as bearded seals (Smith, p. 2205) as their primary sources, although other varieties of seals, as well as walruses, will also do.
Just about all of the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole has served as a suitable habitat for the polar bear. Recent estimates of the polar bear population range between 21,500 and 25,000 (IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group, p. 26). The primary threat in years past to the polar bear population has been overharvesting, but recent measures have been instituted to correct this trend (Prestrud and Stirling, p. 116). Because of the location of the habitats, the impact of human development has been minimal, and so the polar bear has maintained a high percentage of its original range, especially in comparison to other large carnivores. However, it is fairly clear that the effects of melting polar ice due to global warming will be far more invasive to the polar bears' habitats (Derocher).
There is a considerable body of research supporting the existence of global warming in the Arctic, and also supporting that the rate of global warming may accelerate from its present levels (Serreze e.a., Parkinson and Cavalieri, Comiso). ...Show more