The Arctic village in Alaska is known for a good number of Polar bears. But the so called good number is decreasing at a fast pace. Reason being global warming and human conflicts with the bears. The climate is severely getting affected due to emission of greenhouse gases which results in faster melting of ice, thus making it impossible for the polar bears to survive.
Because of unavailability of food and shelter, polar bears steal into the town making it diificult for the village people to live peacefully.
Undoubtedly it is we who are responsible for our own as well their bad!
The picture seems so happy, isn't it? But it seems this happiness is no longer in existence. Many scientists have disputed in the long run against the emission of greenhouse gases which are leading the polar bears in trouble. The experts have predicted that the number will decrease with the continued sea loss. They are listed as vulnerable rather than moved to a more endangered category.
Such a sweet bear then why such inhumane treatment? Another reason for the bears getting endangered is the human conflicts. Using their skin to make fur clothes, keeping them in the cage for entertainment is what disturbs me the most. They have a life too! Until and unless we don't let them live their life they won't let us live either. Many tourist, photographers or journalists visit Kaktovik to see a glimpse of the bears but none of them pays attention to their miserable condition.
"They don't look like polar bears," one man said. "But it does not matter. I will photoshop them when I get home".
Due to the drastic climate change, there are a lot of changes taking place in the polar bears. There are changes in their physical condition, body size, reproduction and survival rates. This is majorly happening because of the loss of sea ice and consequently the loss of nutritious food.
Due to the scarcity of seals, the polar bear has to survive by munching on the whales. The Inupiat people, who have been whaling here for thousands of years believe that the whale offers itself to the crew who tries to capture it. Only a part of the ice is left in Kaktovik where a few seals might be available but the water is too deep and the distance to land is too long to swim even for a polar bear. According to a study, by Dr. Atwood, the bears are thus staying longer on land. "If they sit on the pack ice, and the waters are very deep, it will be difficult for them to find nutrition," Dr. Atwood said.
Many endangered species have predictable reasons such as human settlements, hunting and poaching. But the threat to polar bears is something no regulatory authority can address. Ice loss is the biggest issue. Oil spills, pollution are some other reasons too but ice loss overpowers all.
The lack of food has caused weight loss for some polar bears. It can also cause them to have fewer cubs and it reduces the likelihood of Polar cubs reaching adulthood. They are also less likely to survive than in the past.
When the increasing tourism is a boon for some people of Kaktovik, it upsets many others too. Many tourists visit the village through commercial flights during the fall months when the bears are there. This restricts the seats of the villagers who need to fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks. Also, many people interfere in their ritual of whale hunting and come on streets to click pictures of the bears without asking for permission.
So far, there have been no attacks on humans but there are chances of occurrence of such attacks in future. The polar bears never used to visit the town but in search of food and shelter they wander on the streets every night. With no doubt, if they get skinny and short of nutritious food they will attack and humans really need to watch out for this.