By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What arctic animal could soon face extinction?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

A  a  e  O  r  R  P  L  b

PacSci-Doku: Animal Under Stress

Puzzle Difficulty: Easy

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: Animal Under Stress-ans

The Answer

The loss of sea ice in the arctic region is the primary reason polar bears face the possibility of extinction. These 500 to 1,000 pound animals roam the polar ice primarily eating ringed seals. Unfortunately, the receding polar ice due to global warming has reduced the hunting season for the seals. Key indicators of the challenges that polar bears face include:

  • The ice free period in Hudson Bay increased by 20 days over 20 years ago, decreasing the seal hunting season by almost three weeks.
  • The average bear weight in the Hudson Bay region is down by 15%, and the bear population is down by 20% over 20 years ago.
  • Not only is there less ice, but it is farther from shore, making it more difficult for the bears to get to the ice.
  • More open sea between ice floes makes the water rougher, which makes getting to the ice more hazardous.

Learn more about the challenges polar bears face because of the loss of sea ice.