Kids Speak Up for Imperiled Polar Bears

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Polar Bears | Kids' Environmental Report Card

Kids are "extremely concerned" that polar bears are at high risk for extinction, according to a recent Environmental Report Card poll.

There's good reason for their concern. Polar bears are the world's largest land-dwelling carnivores. Their scientific name, Ursus maritimus, meaning "sea bear," reflects the fact that these mammals spend much of their lives around water. They are excellent swimmers and can move at about 6.2 miles per hour, even in the coldest seas.

Most scientists think that, because of climate change, polar bears are now in serious trouble. Sea ice in the Arctic is melting earlier and forming later each year. This means that polar bears are left with less time on the ice to hunt for food and build up their fat stores for survival in the cold. As their ice habitat shrinks, skinnier and hungrier polar bears face grave challenges, says the World Wildlife Fund. If current climate trends continue unchanged, polar bears could become extinct by the end of this century. 

On Scholastic's Save the Planet message board, kids have participated in several lively online discussions about the possible fate of polar bears. In most instances, the kids have freely expressed their concern for the polar bear's wellbeing.

"I've never seen a polar bear in real life before... only on TV. It's not fair," wrote Dustfinger.

"I want my grandkids to be able to see a polar bear!!!" added frequent poster SnapeIsMyHomie .

  • Subjects:
    Arctic Animals, Environmental Conservation and Preservation, Earth Science