Monday, September 10

Polar Bears Goners US Study Says

Global Climate Change is the reason that the polar bear population will decline drastically, a US Geological Survey projects.

Josh Hill at Green Options reports: "At the moment, polar bears number somewhere close to 16,000, and reside throughout the Arctic in Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Already, areas such as the Northwest Passage have almost totally disappeared, and experts are predicting anywhere between a 40% to total drop-off of summer ice by 2050.

The reports executive summary concluded that by the mid 21st century, a full two-thirds of the bears population could be gone, with remainders living in Canadian Arctic islands and the west coast of Greenland.

The polar bear has recently also been the subject of a potential addition to the Endangered Species Act list. Unable to successfully hunt on land – being too acclimatized to hunting in the water and on ice – the polar bear would probably begin to suffer in its cub’s inability to survive past adolescence, and the females unable to successfully reproduce.

First making its way on to the ecological landscape some 40-50,000 years ago, the polar bear has adapted to the icy conditions of the northern icecaps. In that intervening period, earth has not suffered a warming to such an extent that its caps have depreciated as they are now. It is this unaccustomed warming that worries experts."

Also contributing to the eradication of the polar bear population is trophy hunters. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the "Polar Bear Protection Act," in May, which would prohibit trophy hunters from bringing polar bear carcasses into the US from Canada. The bill would restore the 1972 moratorium on the importation of marine mammal trophies, which mostly enter the United States from Canadian hunts. The ban would repeal a 1994 exception that let the Interior Department issue permits, which allowed hunters to bring polar bear carcasses across the border from hunts in Canada.

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