Negatively! The article below provides a great comprehensive report, but in general, the melting of sea ice decreases their habitat and changes the migration and behavior patterns of animals that they prey on. One great quote is: “Earlier melting of sea ice has two consequences for polar bears: It shortens the feeding period at a time when recently weaned seal pups are available, and it lengthens the period the bears must fast with less stored fat. While polar bears are well adapted to extended fasts, there is a limit to how long they can survive without food. Females in poor condition give birth to small cubs that weigh less, and lighter cubs have lower survival rates. Over time, low survivorship to adulthood means the subpopulation will decline in number. There are data showing that polar bears in both the southern Beaufort Sea and southern Hudson Bay are also declining in condition, which is often a precursor to subpopulation declines.”
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