Climate change and hunting are not the only points of concern. Endocrine disrupting chemicals and mercury poisoning are the other two contaminating agents constantly eroding the arctic and thereby its largest on ground predator the polar bear. Anthropogenic Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) has been found in polar bears. POPs are resistant to physical-chemical and biochemical degradation and have a much longer life and hence they are absorbed through food or bioaccumulation. Though polar bears have a mechanism that metabolizes and excrete POPs, yet owing to the fact that it feeds on a large amount of seal blubber, level of POP in polar bear is higher.
Since the higher level of POPs affects both progesterone and testosterone levels; so it will definitely have a negative impact on the reproduction of polar bear. The relation between thyroid hormone system (TH) and POP is another point of concern. POP often has a negative impact on endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) and that might eventually lead to disruption of the TH resulting in lesser development of the neuro system. Polar bear’ s development of cognitive abilities and successful learning of the hunting process leads to successful survival.
Therefore a less developed neuro system might leave the species with less power of adaptability with changing the topography of arctic, courting global climatic change. (Jenssen, 2006, pp. 77-78) Moreover, around 200-300 tons of mercury gets transported annually to the Arctic through atmosphere and ocean currents that have made the western Arctic particularly vulnerable to mercury poisoning and has exposed the polar bears to toxic effects resulting from the same. (Sonne et al, 2007, pp. 1; 7) The politicians and the policymakers alike along with the scientists are nowadays concerned with three Ps pollution, population, and poverty.
Though different in meaning and apparently standing for separate problems somewhere they are interlinked and connected with each other with a spiral of events eventually strengthening each other.
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