On Thin Ice

January 11, 2019
DANITA DELIMONT/GETTY IMAGES

Polar bears live in the Arctic. They spend their days perched on sea ice. That’s where they hunt for food. But large areas of sea ice are melting. This has put the mammals at risk. That is according to a new report. 
The report is from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

In Canada, polar bears are listed as an animal of “special concern.” This means they are not yet endangered. But they could be in the future. “We will need to keep a close eye on this species,” said Graham Forbes. He is part of the COSEWIC team that studied the bears.

No Room to Roam

In Canada, a polar bear mother and her cub stand on sea ice.

THOMAS KOKTA—GETTY IMAGES

Melting sea ice is the top threat to polar bears. They need sea ice to stand on while they hunt. Seals are their main food source. Polar bears wait on the ice for seals to pop up from the water. Then they pounce. Less ice means less area to hunt.

It will take 20 to 40 years to see how loss of sea ice affects polar bears, Forbes told TIME for Kids. “Nobody knows what will happen.”