Arctic Circle Endangered Animals Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Farrell

Jen has taught Science in accredited schools in North & South America for thirteen years and has a degree in Sociology (Epidemiology & Aids Research).

The Arctic Circle is suffering from climate change that is warming the ocean water and melting the ice. In this lesson, we will learn about several endangered or threatened animals living amongst the glaciers and icebergs of the Arctic Circle.

Climate Change in the Arctic Circle

Grab your jacket and mittens: we are heading north, to the northernmost part of the Earth, to the Arctic Circle. Most of the Arctic is covered by frozen water, where winter temperatures average -40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the ice in the Arctic Circle is changing due to climate change, which is the change in the longterm weather patterns of an area. Ocean temperatures are also rising, so fish and other sea animals are moving. This may cause other Arctic animals who eat fish to lose their food source.

Glaciers are melting in the Arctic Circle region.

Evidence has shown the Arctic is warming faster than other regions on Earth, causing glaciers and other ice to melt during the summer months. This means that Arctic animals' habitats, or their homes, are disappearing. As a result, animals are having to travel long distances to find homes and food, and they are coming in more contact with humans and their activities.

Endangered Animals

All of this means that animals in the Arctic are in trouble, and some of them are endangered. This means that a species is at critical risk of no longer existing on Earth. Scientist have created organized lists of animals around the world as a way to show their current level of danger. Some are vulnerable, some are threatened, and some are endangered.

Learning about endangered animals and climate change can be a downer, but there is a bright spot in this lesson. Knowledge is power, and with your new knowledge, you can work to protect these animals by sharing what you know with other people. Let's take the first step to saving some Arctic animals by learning about them and what is threatening them.

Fin Whales

The fin whale is the second largest mammal on Earth. These enormous creatures are nicknamed 'razorbacks' for the jagged area behind the triangular fin on their back.

Threats to fin whales include:

  • Climate change
  • Being hunted for their meat and oils
  • An increase in pollution in Arctic waters

Fin whales can grow up to 80 feet long.
fin whales

Sei Whales

As the number of fin whales grew smaller, fishermen turned to hunting sei whales. Sei whales are one of the fastest swimming whales, capable of reaching 30 miles per hour. These whales travel long distances between the cool waters of the Arctic and warmer waters where they breed and give birth.

Threats to fin whales include:

  • Climate change
  • Being hunted for their meat
  • Becoming tangled in the nets of fishermen
  • Getting hit by a boat traveling in their habitat

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