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Giving Polar Bears a Chance to Survive

Giving Polar Bears a Chance to Survive
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NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Naomi Rose, Ph.D., the senior scientist for Humane Society International. She is a marine mammal biologist, who has been advocating for increased protection for polar bears for more than 18 years.

Polar bears are the mighty kings of the Arctic. They are nature’s top land predator and have nothing to fear. Except for the melting ice beneath their massive paws – and a hunter’s bullet.

Graphic images in the media of the great white bear precariously perched on the last chunk of a melting iceberg, of drowned bears, of cannibalized carcasses of bear cubs (eaten by hungry males) – all of these punch home the message that the Arctic is already feeling the heat of climate change.

Polar bears depend primarily on ringed seals as prey and cannot find or capture them without a solid platform of sea ice beneath their feet. As the ice recedes farther, forms later, and melts sooner each year – predicted to disappear altogether in summer within the next few years – polar bears, particularly in the more southern populations, are facing starvation. These bears are having fewer cubs and the cubs that are born are suffering much higher mortality. It is only a matter of time before other populations start showing these impacts as well.

The irony is, even as climate change threatens the very survival of the species – leading to a U.S. government decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008 – hunters continue to kill bears, not only for subsistence in the US, Greenland, and Canada, but also for sport and commercial trade in Canada.

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Photo courtesy of HSI.

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7:37PM PDT on Sep 10, 2015


12:51PM PST on Mar 3, 2013

Big oil needs to stay off lands where animals live. If we want to destroy la d we r already on so be it, but animals need to stop paying the price for man and the almighty dollar $$$.

5:08AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

signed with much hope tht there will be a way for their to survive. They are such majestic creatures.

7:15AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

signed with hope

7:14AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

thank you

4:31AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012


9:43AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

Virgina C, now there's a truly simple-minded person! Her posts prove that her brain is certainly not very 'big or powerful." :D

'Gina: please know that I'm "big and powerful" whether I have a weapon in my hands or NOT.
You insinuate that someone is "stupid" because they don't share your views? Now THAT is the definition of 'stupid."

Try and remember that weapons are just inanimate objects. That's something that liberals like yourself always fail to comprehend.

You're going to have to put a lot more effort into your written insults if you expect people to take you seriously. Check with your friends; maybe they can help you craft some kind of coherent response.

4:30AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Roller C and Ted Nugent - I'm sure you feel very big and strong when you have a gun in your hands - powerful!!! Stupid, brainless morons!

4:27AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

If you really believe that there is no global warming then you must be on drugs!!! Nobody can be that stupid!

4:26AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

What does it matter if they are on the brink of extinction or not??????? For heavens sakes - each one deserves to live out their lives in their own magnificent habitat. We're not culling humans because let's face it, we're the scourge of this planet. Why the hell can't we stop killing off everything else, and in this case, these magnificent bears.

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