Posted on Aug 05, 2019
Art Anderson, David Kray
 
Speaker, Art Anderson, was introduced by President-elect  Deb Nygaard.
 
Art Anderson in his 38th year in Rotary presents Polar Bears – Living in a Changing/Challenging Environment.  This was part of a trip by Polar Bears International Organization with only 18 people attending.  This all happened in Churchill Manitoba.  
Travel was in Tundra Buggies and lodging was on the tundra at Tundra Lodge.  Polar bears travel into town on a routine basis.  If you see one just hop into a parked car as the doors are intentionally left unlocked to enable people to escape.  It is also expected that you can walk into anyone’s home to avoid a polar bear, don’t knock, just walk right in!
 
About 26,000 polar bears are left in the world Principally they live in Canada, Alaska, Russia Greenland and Norway.  About 900 of them live in the Churchill area.  Normal life span of the bears is 15 – 18 years and some live to age 40! 
 
Arctic is warming twice as fast as other parts of the world.  Polar bears feed primarily on seals.  They are good swimmers but not as good as seals, thus, they must catch the seals from the platform of sea ice.  As the sea ice decreases by about 13% per decade, the polar bears get progressively hungrier. As a result of this warming and less ice coverage, polar bear population could decrease by about 2/3 by the end of the century.  Adding to this problem, female polar bears become pregnant in the fall and carry the dormant egg for several months.  Then if the mother has adequate nutrition the eggs will begin to grow.  If the nutrition is not adequate the eggs will abort.  The incidence of births/bear has decreased due to the shorter time of the bears on the ice.
 
Thank you, Art, for an interesting intro to the lives of polar bears in Churchill.