Climate change and shrinking sea ice is impacting polar bear populations and their ability to forage for food and to produce healthy cubs. BYU biology professor Blaine Griffen analyzed polar bear data from the U.S. Geological Survey and calculated the metabolic rate of polar bears for different activities. He found that it takes five times as much energy for a polar bear to swim than it does for a bear to walk. Since bears are being forced to swim to forage for food since they can’t walk across sea ice, this is having a negative impact on the health of the bears and species survival.
When ice melts, polar bears use 5x more energy to swim instead of walk