Polar Bears

As Arctic ice melts away into the sea, we are pushing further north, with new towns, oil, gas mines and tourist expeditions. Photographed by Tim Flach

Added on 27.07.2017
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Polar Bears use sea ice to catch seals, but it is melting under our warming climate. Hunting season is becoming shorter, and for each week of ice that is lost from artic winters, polar bears return with ten kilograms less fat.

Polar bears have evolved in an environment which is inhospitable to most life forms, and they are unfamiliar with bacteria and disease. As apex predators, they suffer most from the toxins and pathogens we introduce, as they accumulate in the animals beneath them in the food chain. Furthermore, the receding ice depletes their territories and squeezes them within human communities, putting them in increasing danger of defensive killings. Broadly, however, poaching is thought to be at a sustainable balance. Inuit communities, who use polar bears for food and clothing, follow quotas set by scientists so as not to damage their population.