Sat, 06 Jul 2013 09:30:00 GMT | By Santirta Martendano and Alyssa Woo, Ed Solsg
Polar bears on thin ice

Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival



Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Steven Kazlowski/Science Faction/Corbis)
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  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Steven Kazlowski/Science Faction/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Yi Lu/Viewstock/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Richard Wear/Design Pics/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Wayne Lynch/All Canada Photos/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Paul Souders/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Paul Souders/Corbis)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Michael Duva / Getty Images)
  • Due to global warming, the melting of ice caps means that polar bears have a lesser chance of survival (© Paul Souders/WorldFoto)
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Due to global warming, the natural habitat of polar bears is changing faster than they can cope. According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the polar ice cap is melting at the rate of nine percent per decade, while the Arctic ice thickness has decreased by 40 percent since the 1960s.

Life is increasingly difficult for these bears as the melting ice means they have lesser areas to hunt and find shelter. The lack of ice restricts the polar bears' access to their seal prey, and increases the rate of drowning due to exhausted bears having to swim for hundreds of miles to find ice.

The possibility of polar bears becoming extinct is very high if greenhouse gas levels continue to rise. The U.S. Center for Atmospheric Research predict the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2040, and that all glaciers in the U.S. Glacier National Park will be gone by 2070.

Click through our gallery to see how global warming is affecting the ice bears.

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