Polar bears face extinction in less than 70 years because of global warming, scientists have warned.The truth:
Melting ice is causing their numbers to drop dramatically, they warn.
Others also at risk include ivory gulls, Pacific walruses, ringed and hooded seals and narwhals, small whales with long, spiral tusks.
One of the problems is that other animals are moving north, encroaching on their territory, spurred by increasing temperatures, pushing out native species.
The animals are also struggling with the loss of sea ice.
"The Arctic as we know it may soon be a thing of the past," said Eric Post, associate professor of biology at Penn State University, who led the latest study, publied in the journal Science.
"Recent projections suggest polar bears could be extinct within 70 years.
- January 3, 2007, Wall Street Journal:
[T]here are in fact more polar bears in the world now than there were 40 years ago, as the nearby chart shows. The main threat to polar bears in recent decades has been from hunting, with estimates as low as 5,000 to 10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. But thanks to conservation efforts, and some cross-border cooperation among the U.S., Canada and Russia, the best estimate today is that the polar bear population is 20,000 to 25,000.
- March 6, 2007, National Post:: "The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s."
- May 3, 2007, Christian Science Monitor: "Despite global warming, an ongoing study says polar bear populations are rising in the country's eastern Arctic region."
(via Watts Up With That?)