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Have you already forgotten? The plight of the polar bear was widely used as one of the first tactics to increase anthropogenic global warming (AGW) awareness. AGW directly affects these bears because as the polar sea-ice begins to melt, the bears have literally nothing to live/hunt on. This is forcing the bears to swim great distances for their search for food, and the effort is killing them.

To make my point, a new study has documented a female polar bear that had to swim for a record-breaking nine days straight, traversing 426 miles (687 kilometers) of water.

As you may imagine this kind of physical strain is harming the polar bear population.

The cub of the record-setting bear, for instance, died at some point between starting the swim and when the researchers next observed the mother on land. She also lost 22 percent of her body weight.

Said study co-author Steven Amstrup:

We’re pretty sure that these animals didn’t have to do these long swims before, because 687-kilometer stretches of open water didn’t occur very often in the evolutionary history of the polar bear

Amstrup is the chief scientist for the conservation group Polar Bears International. Amstrup is also the former project leader of polar bear research for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which led the new study.

Thinning the population

Another study, which followed previous collared polar bear mothers on long swims (over 30 miles), found that the swims are increasing cub loss.

Five of the 11 mothers that had cubs before they began their lengthy swims lost their young by the time the researchers observed them again on land, according to the research, presented July 19 at the International Bear Association Conference in Ottawa, Canada. The study is not yet published in a journal.

This infant mortality is directly correlated to the loss of the sea-ice, which is directly correlated to AGW, and is predicted to continue.

Care about the bear

So get informed about AGW and do your part, it is absolutely unethical to let other conscious creatures suffer due to our own laziness or environmental nearsightedness.