NEWS BRIEF, January 9, 2006

Global Warming Could Endanger Polar Bears Worldwide

Global warming is clearly occurring - there is no credible doubt that Arctic and Antarctic sea ice is disappearing at alarming rates, and that species at all stages of the ecosystem are being impacted by the gradually increasing temperatures. Now it is reported that polar bears, a pinnacle predator in the high Arctic, may face the threat of extinction within 10 decades due to climate change.

University of Alberta, Canada researcher Dr. Andrew Derocher reports that Arctic sea ice - the crucial hunting terrain for this massive carnivore, is declining at a rate of 9% per year. Bears use the ice to move from hunting to breeding areas, and without the ice, moving up on seals (their main food source) becomes increasingly difficult, and the animals might starve due to the lack of alternative, high-protein food sources.

Melting sea ice and decaying ice-shelves due to global warming is also an important issue in the Antarctic, where large blocks of meting ice calving from the mainland float to sea and ultimately block crucial penguin 'landing pathways', preventing the birds from returning to shore to nurse their young. Global warming has incredible implications at both poles, but the potential loss of the world's (current) largest terrestrial carnivore is a signal that must be heard by governments around the globe.

To read more about this story, please link to the following website from the BBC.

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