National Geographic : 2009 Apr
Svalbard supports about half the 3,000 polar bears in the Barents Sea region. But the Arctic's iconic mammal isn't the only one married to the ice. Another is the bearded seal, often a meal for a hungry bear (bottom left). The seal depends on ice platforms (above) for birthing, but sea ice is shrinking as temperatures rise. Warming waters also alter food stocks and distribution, and may wipe out some of the seal's own prey.