Are declines in sea ice around Greenland threatening polar bears?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
By Tory Coffin

Sea ice is vital habitat for polar bears to hunt seals, travel long distances, and raise their cubs. A recent study focused on Baffin Bay, off Greenland, found that declining sea ice concentrations are causing polar bears to fast for longer periods of time and have fewer cubs, which is expected to continue for the next three generations of polar bears.

Scientists estimate that global polar bear populations will decline by 30% between 2015 to 2050 due to sea ice decline. Polar bears are currently classified as "vulnerable" on the "Red List" of threatened species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a stage that indicates less risk to a species than "endangered," "critically endangered" or, ultimately, extinct.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Between 2020 and 2022, under close editorial supervision, Gigafact contracted a group of freelance writers and editors to test the concepts for fact briefs and provide inputs to our software development process. We call this effort Gigafact Lab. Over the course of these two years, Gigafact Lab writers published over 1500 fact briefs in response to claims they found online. Their important work forms the basis of Gigafact formats and editorial guidelines, and is available to the public on Gigafact.org. Readers should be aware that while there is still a lot of relevant information to be found, not all fact briefs produced by Gigafact Lab reflect Gigafact's current methods and standards for fact briefs. If you come across any that you feel are out of date and need to be looked at with fresh eyes, don't hesitate to contact us at support@gigafact.org.