Every year, scientists from around the world visit this region of Norway to check on the polar bear’s health and size.

Adult male polar bear at the ice edge in Svalbard

As the sea ice recedes, it will make it more difficult for pregnant seals to return to islands where they must give birth in the future.

“When they give birth to cubs, one of the most essential things for the bears is that they must be on land, so they have to go to the islands every time they deliver,” Aars noted.

While yearly sea ice melts and forms again with the seasons, there has generally been a certain amount of perennial ice to cover the Arctic year after year. However, over the last three decades, there has been a significant reduction in perennial sea ice coverage, according to scientists who believe it is due to human-caused climate change.