Polar bears in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay dying at a fast rate

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Polar bears in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay dying at a fast rate Blog Image


Polar bears in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay, an inland sea connected to the Arctic Ocean, are dying at a fast rate, according to a new government survey, the Associated Press reported recently. It also revealed that females and younger polar bears are the worst affected.

Why in the News? 

At the time of the survey, conducted by air in 2021, researchers calculated that there were 618 bears left in Western Hudson Bay — the region includes Churchill, the town that is known as ‘the Polar Bear Capital of the World’.

  • When the last survey took place in 2016, there were 842 bears in the area.
  • According to the researchers, Western Hudson Bay has witnessed a drop of around 50% in the population of polar bears since the 1980s.

Importance of polar bears:

  • Polar bears are one of the most significant predators in the Arctic region and they keep biological populations in balance.
  • The big kills made by them serve as a food resource for scavengers like Arctic foxes and Arctic birds.
  • If polar bears aren’t able to hunt animals like seals, it can severely impact the food chain and health of the ecosystem.
  • Researchers have also found that once polar bears can’t find seals to eat, they would quickly move to kill and survive on other creatures in the Arctic region.
  • This would threaten the existence of species like the Arctic fox or the walrus.
  • Moreover, it might also cause the overpopulation of seals, which could endanger the existence of crustaceans and fish that are an important food source for local human populations as well as other Arctic wildlife.
  • The polar bear is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.


Q1) What are the 9 categories of the IUCN Red List?

The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria are intended to be an easily and widely understood system for classifying species at high risk of global extinction. It divides species into nine categories: Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild and Extinct.

Source: Polar bears in key Canada region dying: Causes, effects