5/25/2010 2:27:32 PM
New Study Predicts Dramatic & Sudden Decline in Polar Bears
Changing sea ice patterns will affect polar bears' reproductive rates, leading to a sharp drop in their numbers, scientists say. During breeding season, male polar bears find receptive females by following scented tracks across the sea ice. Sea ice losses are breaking up those trails, making it harder for males to find mates.
The study team, led by Dr. Peter Molnar and Dr. Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta, also predicted that longer ice-free free seasons will affect polar bear survival. As these seasons lengthen, fewer bears are expected to have enough fat and protein stores to survive the fast.