Hope for declining polar bear population found in stunning Arctic snapper photos

As polar bears face increasing threats from climate change there is a glimmer of hope after THIRTY polar bears were spotted in the Arctic.

Wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein snapped the amazing sight as he reveals that last year’s "fertile ice harvest" has meant an abundance of cubs and healthy adults.

It is great news as fears have been mounting that polar bears and other marine ­species could be wiped out within 40 years, according to new research.

Climate change is warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world, meaning there is less ice on which the bears can roam, according to the World Wildlife Foundation .

Inevitably, this is pushing them closer to human settlements to find food, posing threats to the bears and the Arctic communities who live there.

But Mr Goldstein revealed this week that he saw an amazing sixty sightings during his June expedition – bringing hope for the world’s 20,000 to 25,000 wild polar bear population.

The Wimbledon-based guide said: "We even had more cubs than adults.

"This was remarkable and I have never known it so good."

His stunning photographs sees cubs following their mothers across frozen wastes and a stunning picture of three bears staring into the ice-free waters.

Mr Goldstein said he spent a total of six months of his life aboard a Russian ice ship in the Arctic waters of Spitsbergen, guiding for Exodus Travels.

Polar bears range across the Arctic Ocean, in parts of Canada, Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Norway (Svalbard).

They can walk or swim long distances to find food or to breed – sometimes roaming across vast areas up to 600,000 sq km.

He explains: "Climate change is having an indelible effect on the ice all over the world.

"I have seen glaciers retreat more than a kilometre in just twelve years but for once it is refreshing to be able to write something encouraging about bears and ice however fickle it may be in the long run.

"Each year I guide in this beautiful land of ice and tundra with its 24 hour daylight.

"It first seduced me at the beginning of the century and has kept an icy grip on me since then, haunting me like only a few other wilderness areas in the world.

"When guiding the principal attraction is bears, on ice.

"We have always found them but sea ice is a capricious mistress at best, so the tally can be very varied.

"Normally I find talking about amounts boorish and frankly childish, as it is the quality that matters: one bear on ice is worth fifty truffling lonely furrows down shingle beaches, however this year was incredible.

"Polar bears need firm fast ice to hunt seals on.

"Last year’s ice harvest was a fertile one and the mother’s clearly went to their winter dens well fed and impregnated.

"This year the photographic charter I led was done deliberately early, not wishing to gamble on the diminishing ice late."

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