Polar bears, Alaskan villagers way of life at risk, experts say: Part 2

Climate change experts are studying polar bears who arrive in Kaktovik, Alaska to see how climate change has impacted the ecosystem.
5:44 | 11/29/17

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Transcript for Polar bears, Alaskan villagers way of life at risk, experts say: Part 2
In the remote alaskan tundra, a mother polar bears and her cubs are dangerously close to us. Mother bear seems the decide whale meat is a better dinner. As night falls, our guide, Robert Thompson, shows us evidence of a threat we may not be able to escape. Signs that the climate is changing. Melting. You see it over there. It's open. It melts more and the water flows out. Years and years ago, the fence was here and they said it wouldn't blow over. There are stakes in the ground. Now they're melting and not holding the structure up anymore. It shows he the perma frost is melting. The coastline isn't permanent either. The coastline has chipped away at beaches, threatening towns and habitats. You love this land. How does it feel to see the changes are happening? Well, I think the rest world should look at this and say, it will happen more to other people in other areas. Marine life and marine animals, wildlife. Dr. James wilder studies the polar bear population in the Buford sea near barter island. He said these bears have been coming to these shores for thousands of years. But climate change has changed their behavior. Polar bears are showing up earlier. They used to show up in the beginning of September. Now we see them in late July, August. And staying for longer. And that seems to be correlated with the availability of sea ice. If sea I melts earlier, then bears will come to shore sooner. If it forms later in the@fall, then they at the coast for longer periods of time. We're used to ice out there hunting. For the people of kaktovek, the way of life is at risk as well. This is the main road. She is a witness to the changes brought by rising temperatures. For all the tours. They're a nuisance. They can smell the good food anywhere. They had broken down our door to opour cellar. For centuries, residents stored the whales they hunted in the permafrost. A natural underground freezer. Most of the ice filled up with water. And it is hard to keep them going. You used to have natural ice cellars. Yeah. That have now melted? They washed out. Erosion got all of them. Their all gone. And now you have containers. Relying on the Earth is something they need to do. Even though there's a grocery store here, that doesn't mean groceries are accessible for every one. $21. For a bottle of lotion. $34 for conditioner. It's tough. The prices are a lot higher. How challenging is it to keep your store stocked here on Bart he island? The tourists, we're slowly getting it. It costs so much to get everything. Yeah. My prices are crazy sometimes. Another issue is safety. While the locals know what to do about bears -- Most people have firearms just in case? We try to do it. They don't understand that they're wild zmams their demeanor can change just like that. Right. You all live among them. With them. You understand. Kit get crazy when they start coming in. Especially when they finish up there. They'll start coming into the town looking for scraps. They're hungry. It is such a problem there was a pole ever a bear patrol stepping streets. This bear going through the garbage. Another peering into a window. I used to lock up the bar there. She told us how she locks the bears out at the end of her shift. That's why I do it. So it's about 3:30 in the morning, I looked out my window and I saw them to check them out. A warning. This is the time of night the polar bears are out so we'll stay close to this door. It's unbelievable. I've seen pictures. I never thought I would see it in person. And there it is. In the sky. And it's surreal, actually. Just as beautiful as I thought it would be. When we take off from batter island, we're he in awe of what we've seen. The fragility of this arctic kaktovik, Alaska. Our thanks to Amy and her team for extraordinary story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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