Researchers have discovered that polar bears are highly threatened by global warming after closely analyzing the situation. The Draft Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan (CMP) released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the animals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. This is because of the loss of the bear’s sea ice habitat caused by the global warming.
The CMP was created by nonprofit organizations in collaboration with a team of stakeholder from both private and public sectors and it will be officially submitted on Monday.
In 2010 a scientific model created in 2008 was updated with the purpose of changing the population of polar bears. The version from 2010 also took into account the gas emission generated by greenhouses in this century. One model presents that by the middle of the century the greenhouse gas emission will level off and afterwards will decline. On the other hand another scenario provides that the gas emission will increase. However no matter the scenario we adopt the polar bear population is assumed to decline by 2050.
The draft proposal also addresses other factors such as reducing the pollution made by humans reduce the bears’ exposure to oil spills contamination and make the contact of humans with bears as limited as possible because it can lead to conflicts. The bears came to interact with humans because lately they are spending more time searching for food ashore.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service polar bears may live longer if the emission of greenhouse gases will be stabilized at lower levels. The melting of the polar ice does not only threaten the polar bears’ home, but also their prey, namely the ringed seals. Consequently the bears will no longer have what to feed on and they will be forced to swim at greater lengths in order to find food. This will significantly affect their winter fat reserves.
Geoffrey Haskett, the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said:
“Polar bear conservation requires a global commitment to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Until that happens, we’re going to do everything within our power to give the polar bear a chance to survive. That’s what this plan’s about.”
Image Source: National Geographic