The Arctic ice cap is at an all time low. Due to an especially warm winter there’s 28 percent less ice this year than last year. And besides causing more erratic weather patterns around the world, the melting ice is slowly putting the remaining polar bear population up against the ropes.
The US Fish And Wildlife Service released a report today that paints a very grim picture for the future of polar bears. The organizations estimates the population at 26,000 total animals worldwide and the numbers are dropping. According to the report, there’s really only one culprit behind the decline — climate change. Because of this polar bears have officially been listed on the Endangered Species Act as “threatened” with Michael Runge of the US Geological Survey lamenting that “the future for polar bears is pretty bleak.”
The report includes a recovery plan called (appropriately) The Polar Bear Plan. Its aims are to target and manage human-bear contact, protect denning habitat, minimize risk of contamination from oil spills, and work with conservation efforts worldwide. The biggest part of the plan, probably be the toughest battle, and that’s to “limit global atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases to levels appropriate for supporting polar bear recovery and conservation, primarily by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The price tag for the polar bear recovery plan is $66,720,000 over the next five years.
It’s questionable at this point if the incoming president and his cabinet will approve the plan — or even heed its warning given their disdain for climate change related policy — but we’ve put aside politics to save species in the past. Let’s hope we can do it again for the polar bear.
(Via BuzzFeeFedd News)