Q. With ice melting due to climate change, is there any way to build artificial platforms to help polar bears survive?
A. This question is best answered by Ian Stirling, a research scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. There are essentially two reasons why artificial platforms are not the answer. Stirling says:
“The home range of a polar bear can vary from a few thousand square kilometres up to more than 350,000 square kilometres. That is rather a lot of artificial platform, just to start with. Then there is the aspect of habitat, making a living, and what the seals (their prey) are going to use for breeding and hauling out to bask or molt. Just having a non-melting floating unit — even if it was as large as a few square kilometres — that a bear could stand on would not help it survive for long. If the ice is gone from a substantial area, or the snow melts early because of rain or warm temperatures, then the breeding habitat for ringed seals will be seriously impacted. Put simply, it is just not a practical solution that is either ecologically feasible or economically practical.”