Would The Arctic Still Be The Arctic Without The Polar Bear?
- Author: Regina Walsh Jan 12, 2017,
Jan 12, 2017, 0:37
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pinpointed that the quickly declining sea ice in the Arctic was "the primary threat to polar bears" and that action was needed to address Arctic warming driven by the human emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, The Washington Post reported.
Its fate is not determined by the stars, but by our willingness and ability to address climate change.
Unfortunately, researchers found polar bears fared the worst, with exposures that were 100 times higher than what is considered safe for an adult bear. Therefore, the plan focuses on other ways to give the species a better fighting chance, including reducing human-bear interactions and overhunting, protecting denning habitat and minimizing the risk of oil spills.
"This plan outlines the necessary actions and concrete commitments by the Service and our state, tribal, federal and global partners to protect polar bears in the near term", Greg Siekaniec, FWS Alaska Regional Director, said in a prepared statement.
Currently, the actions that include the conservation of the polar bear's population in the Arctic would cost the US about $13 million a year, and the Republican Congress is likely to disagree as the Republican Party has shown its disconformity with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Climate models project that rising temperatures will last until it weakens summer sea ice.
It's estimated there are now about 26,000 polar bears in the world. The recovery plan calls for reduced greenhouse effect, gas emissions but requires no direct action for that to occur. A decline in sea ice in the Arctic region of the Chukchi Sea is forcing female walruses and their young to "haul out" to land.
The image has become a symbol of climate change's devastating effect on Arctic wildlife populations, and as the US government confirmed Monday, the devastation is all too real.
"This plan outlines the necessary actions and concrete commitments by the service and our state, tribal, federal and worldwide partners to protect polar bears in the near term", Siekaniec said in a statement.
In 2008, polar bears became the first animal listed under the Endangered Species Act because of forecasted impacts of climate change. The species depends on the floating ice as platforms for hunting seals, their primary source of food.
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Marine Mammals Management office, partly in charge of preserving arctic polar bears, there exists 19 polar bear populations dispersed throughout Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russian Federation. Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, called it "toothless". We worked with Alaska Native youth to create polar bear safety videos for their communities. "Recovery plans work, but only if they truly address the threats to the species", she said.
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