brookfield.docx - Brookfield Zoo Animals Polar bears range...

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Brookfield Zoo Animals Polar bears range from 8 to 11 feet standing and 3.5 to 5 when on all fours. The IUCN reports that there are roughly 26,000 bears.They are distributed around the North Pole and the frozen coastal Plains of Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway, and the United States, Their habitats are along coasts and islands, pack ice, and nearby waters; they are most common in areas of upwelling where currents increase productivity and thin the ice. Their status in the wild is presently being threatened by exploration and oil, by sport and hunting,and also due to human’s contribution to climate change. Alaskan natives have the exclusive rights of hunting polar bears without limits or a closed season, thus they are not required to report the number of bears they kill. The IUCN lists sea losses from climate change as the single biggest threat to polar bear survival. This is because polar bears rely on the ice to hunt, travel, breed and sometimes to den. Humans contribute so much to climate change through the increasing greenhouse emissions released by activities such as burning fossil fuels like coal and oil, and deforestation which causes less CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. Climate change then perpetuates the albedo effect (reflection of sun on ice) which cause more absorption of heat and less reflection of energy back into space. Usually a polar bear can swim for miles at a time across open water, but the melting of ice glaciers is a cause of may polar bears dying. Furthermore, since sea ice is decreasing this affects polar bears’ ability to reach their main prey and source of food: seals, so they have less food, more cannibalism, loss of dens, more drowning occurs, and more cubs die as a result. All of these factors that affect polar bears affect the entire ecosystem. Pollution is another determining factor. Wind and ocean currents carry many pollutants to the Arctic and eventually polar bears are affected by it when they eat seals which causes chemical
contamination This is harmful because it affects their hormonal systems necessary for reproduction, health, metabolism, it suppresses their immune system so they cannot fight off diseases, and it reduces their cognitive skills by harming their nervous systems. The possible risks associated with oil spills as a result of oil exploration are very disconcerting. Despite that not huge massive spill has occurred in the arctic, a spill would lead to their decreased population, consummation of oil as a result of grooming their fur would ultimately be fatal. Not only would it cause death, but the noise from seismic activity would disturb bear mothers in their dens in a vulnerable period.To lessen the decreasing rates they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red list. Also, the Zoological Society administers the Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund, which supports conservation-oriented research.The grant program attracts dozens of innovative research projects each quarter. Also,

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