Next 50 years may be last for polar bears

Shrinking sea ice will eliminate nearly all of the world's polar bear population in the next 50 years, U.S. government scientists predict.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Friday the two-thirds of all polar bears living in Alaska and Russia will likely die due to loss of summer sea-ice habitat, and only a tiny surviving population will remain on islands in the Canadian Arctic, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Furthermore, there is nothing humans can do to save the bears, the scientists estimate, because efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions and limit hunting and gas development cannot outweigh the effects of habitat loss.

The prediction was prepared as Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is deciding whether to designate polar bears as a threatened species, the newspaper said.

Some conservationists criticized the defeatist language in the survey, saying it is not too late for difference-making efforts to save the bruins.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International


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Citation: Next 50 years may be last for polar bears (2007, September 9) retrieved 18 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-09-years-polar.html
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Mar 31, 2009
I was flipping through some old material from the 1930s early this morning and came across something interesting. During the 1930s we had drought conditions on the planet and some areas experienced heat waves.

Of course, the levels of CO2 were lower then than now, so it is of interest that the politicians of today claim what they do, particularly Al Gore in the debacle of a film, "An Inconvenient Truth."

At any rate, here is something I stumbled onto concerning polar bears on page 17 in the September 6, 1930 issue of The Literary Digest:

"Polar Bears Like Heat

Sympathy is wasted on them in torrid summer weather, according to Frank Thone, writing in Science News-Letter, a Science Service publication (Washington). He quotes George Jennison, a well-known and widely experienced English zoologist, as follows:

The public err profoundly with regard to polar bears. They are pitied in hot weather, while a severe spell of frost always calls forth the remark that the polar bears will enjoy themselves; actually they do not like the cold. They rarely enter the water between October and February, and, on the other hand, nothing pleases them so much as hot weather, when they will lie flat with all fours extended, enjoying the blazing sunshine. In the Arctic, radiation from the white snow is extreme and the heat terrific. Carl Hagenbeck has seen polar bears stretched out to enjoy sunshine that gave leopards heat apoplexy."

I thought that was pretty funny and something I just had to share. Perhaps we should remember this the next time we see photos of polar bears floating around the arctic on chunks of melting ice. :)

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