As It Happens

Is climate change the cause of lower polar bear birth rates in Norway?

Another polar bear survey and another bit of bad news. A team of experts has been tracking polar bears around the Arctic islands of Svalbard, Norway and have found birth rates for female polar bears are down compared to previous years. Jon Aars, team leader of the Polar Bear Program at the Norwegian Polar Institute found 29 adult female bears,...

Another polar bear survey and another bit of bad news. A team of experts has been tracking polar bears around the Arctic islands of Svalbard, Norway and have found birth rates for female polar bears are down compared to previous years. Jon Aars, team leader of the Polar Bear Program at the Norwegian Polar Institute found 29 adult female bears, but only three with cubs.

"You always have to be a bit careful when you don't have more bears than 29 altogether, but again, if you have that number, we usually have 10 to 15 with small cubs," Mr. Aars tells Carol.

"You can't draw any sure conclusions from that, but what we're wondering about is whether or not it has to do with the mild weather."

Hear Carol's full interview with Mr. Aars by selecting the "Listen" button.

A polar bear peers over the edge of an ice floe near the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. (Photo: Romas Dabrukas/AP)
Polar bears fight playfully in the St-Felicien Wildlife Zoo in St-Felicien, Quebec. According to Environment Canada, Canada is home to around 15,000 of the estimated 20,000 polar bears in the world. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)
The U.S. (Alaska), Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway are the other four countries where polar bears can be found. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)
The plight of the polar bear and its shrinking habitat has become one of the most obvious symbols for the planet's rapidly changing climate. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee/AP)

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