A worrying new report by the U.S government claims that polar bears will be wiped out entirely if humans are unable to reverse the current trend of climate change.
The worldwide polar bear population is currently estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 but their Arctic Circle habitat is under severe threat from global warming.
A draft recovery plan for polar bears produced by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service said:
The single most important step for polar bear conservation is decisive action to address Arctic warming. Short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered.
Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming and the increased temperature is reducing the levels of summer sea ice in the Arctic. Given that polar bears eat, mate and give birth on the sea ice, if it continues to disappear, polar bears will struggle to survive.
The report adds that if global warming and sea ice depletion is to be addressed, it will require global action.
A second report, produced by the U.S Geological Survey, suggests that polar bear groups in Alaska, Russia and Norway would be affected first by the severe climate change, potentially as soon as 2025. Other bear populations in Canada and Greenland would begin to suffer by 2050.
It makes for pretty scary reading and might make you think twice about leaving your laptop on stand-by overnight.
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