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Polar bears in tundra, as seen during aerial survey near Churchill, Hudson Bay, Canada
The Hudson Bay population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) resides in a seasonal sea ice environment and is the most southerly population in the species’ range. Therefore, polar bears in Hudson Bay may be among the first to show negative effects associated with climate warming and consequent loss of sea ice. The region’s polar bears have been forced to spend an extra week per decade onshore; the bears have been losing, on average, more than 20 pounds per decade; the body mass of the bears has been steadily declining; females have lost 10 percent of their body length; and the population has dropped from 1,200 to 900 in three decades, with much of the decline coming in the last 10 years.