Bear-ly Exercising

Need a workout buddy? How about a….polar bear?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Studies show that ice in the Arctic is rapidly melting. Since polar bears call this ice home, how will its disappearance affect them?

Anthony Pagano teamed up with zoos in San Diego and Oregon to find out. They trained captive polar bears to walk on a treadmill. No, it’s not leg day at the zoo. They wanted to know how many calories polar bears burn by walking.

Why? To predict how much endurance polar bears need to walk to find food.

They found that polar bears burn over twelve-thousand calories a day — fifty percent higher than previously thought! The melting ice means bears need to travel farther to find their next meal. They waste more energy and are more likely to starve.

If Arctic ice continues to melt at its current rate, it’s estimated that polar bears will be extinct by the year twenty-one-hundred. But by getting their treadmill workouts in, these bears could help scientists with conservation efforts.

Just wondering … do they make a FitBit in extra-EXTRA large?