Biologists agree that as ice cover continues to decrease, there will be a significant drop in the polar bear population, which according to federal wildlife officials stands at about 26,000 globally. A 2015 assessment projected a reduction of over 30 percent in the number of polar bears by 2050.
“Polar bears are built for a feast-or-famine type of eating,” said Elisabeth Kruger, an arctic wildlife program officer with the World Wildlife Fund. “But when that period of fasting gets too long, it can put them on the brink.”
Polar bears have been labeled threatened under the Endangered Species Act act since 2008. They are among the largest members of the bear species and prey heavily on seals.