POLAR BEAR- HUMAN CONFLICTS
As climate change forces polar bears to spend longer time onshore, they come in contact more often with Arctic coastal communities and others working in the Arctic. Unfortunately, these interactions sometimes end badly for both humans and bears.
In the Arctic, most industrial development has been on relatively small pieces of land. As summer sea ice retreats, a new ocean is emerging, which allows more opportunities for industrial development at sea and on larger parcels of land.
At the same time, the retreating ice is resulting in more polar bears spending longer periods on land.
Offshore petroleum installations and operations in the Arctic are expected to increase in number. This expansion would likely affect polar bears and their habitat in many ways, including the following:
Contact with spilled oil would be fatal.
An oil spill would affect the entire food chain.
Oil spilled in one part of the Arctic will not remain there and will have far-ranging and devastating effects.
Increased Arctic shipping represents a risk to polar bears. As traffic by barges, oil tankers and cargo ships in Arctic waters increases, so do the risk of oil spills and human disturbance to polar bears.
Many Arctic areas have strong polar bear management and monitoring. But there are a few places where unsustainable hunting appears to be happening, including unreported and illegal hunting.
Manager’s Office Team