Archive for February 22nd, 2008
Lots of folks have been telling me that polar bears are doing ok and don’t need protection under the US Endangered Species Act. Some say polar bear populations are stable in Alaska and increasing in parts of Canada. And there might be 1500 more bears than previous estimates according to a three year study in Nunavut which makes $2 million a year from polar bear trophy hunters. But 1500 isn’t very many more bears and with the Arctic sea ice melting fast the future certainly doesn’t look bright.
As for Alaska consider this fact:
This week scientists announced new findings that the survival rate of polar bear cubs in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea has plummeted. In the late 1980s, 65 percent of polar bear cubs in the southern Beaufort Sea survived their first year. That has fallen to an average of 43 percent in the past five years. — Polar Bears Go Hungry as Icy Habitat Melts Away
“Without taking serious and urgent action to stabilize the climate, there is no future for polar bears” says Andrew Derocher, Chair of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Polar Bear Specialist Group.
See also this controversy: Oil vs Polar Bears in Alaska
And these updates on the Arctic: Arctic Is the Canary in the Coalmine