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Polar bears inhabit
almost all areas of the tundra region, with around 60% living within
Canada. Polar bears are at the top of the food chain with their only
predators being humans and eachother. Historically they have been
hunted commerically and also for their hides, a great prize among
trophy hunters. This continued unregulated until 1973 when an accord
was signed to regulate practices and to conserve the polar bears. The
Agreement on the conservation on Polar Bears was a landmark agreement
involving Canada, Denmark, Norway, USA and Russia and it still
remains today.Presently the main concern for Polar Bears is
loss of habitat and reduced access to prey and breeding sites due to
rising temperatures causing sea-ice loss. They rely almost entirely
on sea-ice because their main prey, the ringed seal, is highly
dependent on it too. The ringed seal is the only food source
available to them with a high enough fat content to keep them
healthy. Although polar bears are strong swimmers, a
reduction in sea ice means that they are being forced to swim for
longer distances between ice to catch their prey. Researchers have
sadly reported that due to a lack of ice flows, there has been an
increase in cases of Polar Bears drowning from exhaustion.
Conversely, if the bears decide to stay on shore then it is likely
that they will be forced into fast, until the summer period is over
due to the lack of prey available to them. This sometimes leads to
starvation and subsquently the death of the polar bear.Human-polar
bear interactions are another downside to sea-ice loss. Scared and
undernourished Polar Bears have started venturing into residential
areas in search of food in Northern communities. The consequences of
these encounters are usually tragic for both the human and the polar
bear.Due to them living in remote and hard to access areas,
it is difficult to monitor exact numbers and although there is no
specific data from some areas in Russia and Greenland, the ICUN
estimates that there are roughly 26,000 polar bears left and as such
they are now listed as a vulnerable species

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