Why are Polar Bears Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Endangered Animals and…
  • 0:36 Global Warming in the Arctic
  • 1:48 What Do Polar Bears Eat?
  • 2:27 Oil and Gas Found in…
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Can you think of giant bears with white fur that live in the cold Arctic? These bears are called polar bears. Unfortunately, polar bears are an endangered species. Learn some of the different causes of polar bear endangerment in this lesson.

Endangered Animals and Polar Bears

Many animals around the world are considered endangered species. Endangered species are animals that are in danger of becoming extinct, or no longer living on Earth. Loss of habitat and hunting threatens their existence. The endangered species list was updated to include the polar bear in 2008.

Can you think of a place that is icy, cold and perfect for polar bears to live? Polar bears mostly live on the ice of the Arctic near the North Pole. They live in Norway, Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska.

Global Warming in the Arctic

Have you ever seen your parents or other adults get the emissions checked on their cars? The emissions inspection is to reduce car exhaust fumes, which cause air pollution. Air pollution from car exhaust, smoke from factories and other places cause dangerous holes to develop in the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is a protective layer of gases that surrounds the earth's atmosphere. It helps to block some of the incredibly hot and powerful rays of the sun. Blocking these rays keeps Earth at a safe temperature for living things. Unfortunately, the holes formed in the ozone layer allow more heat to get to the earth from the sun. The extra heat causes temperatures to increase around the world and is known as global warming.

Global warming is especially harmful to polar bears since they live, eat and raise cubs on enormous chunks of ice, frozen over the Arctic Ocean. Global warming causes the ice to melt and break apart. When the ice breaks apart, polar bear families, especially cubs, can drift too far away from each other and away from food sources, which they need to survive. Studies show that polar bears are having fewer babies in this declining habitat. Declining habitat is one reason that polar bears are on the endangered species list.

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