Can a giraffe survive in Antarctica?

Right / right?: Could polar bears be relocated from the Arctic to the Antarctic?

The polar bear, sitting lonely on its ice floe, is the symbol of climate change. When the ice at the North Pole melts, its habitat shrinks. The American government geological organization USGS predicts that the polar bear population could decline by two thirds by the middle of the century. And should the north polar ice melt completely, the white giants would no longer have any habitat at all.

As is well known, there are no polar bears at the South Pole. So the thought is not far of helping nature a little and relocating the animals to the Antarctic, where the ice sheet is much thicker. In fact, biologists have suggested major relocations due to climate change. This is called "assisted colonization"; in 2008 an article on the subject appeared in Science. The authors advocate moving animal species threatened by climate change to similar "biogeographical regions". However, they restricted: "We do not recommend relocating herds of rhinos in Arizona or polar bears in Antarctica."

The introduction of new species into other ecosystems is always problematic. Penguins and seals live in the Antarctic and hardly know any natural enemies. For the polar bears, however, they would be found food in the truest sense of the word. That would not only be sad, it would have unforeseeable consequences for the ecosystem, for example for fish stocks. But it could also be that the polar bears cannot cope with this move and would still die out.

Anyway, according to the Antarctic Treaty, resettlement would be strictly forbidden. It doesn't even allow researchers to take sled dogs to the South Pole.



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