Friday, 3 September 2010

Polar bears face 'tipping point' due to climate change

The journal Biological Conservation has published research which suggests that polar bears face a ‘tipping point’ due to climate change. The research claims that there will be a dramatic and sudden decline in the number of polar bears, due in the main to falling pregnancy rates and fewer bears surviving during longer, ice-free seasons.

As these ice-free seasons lengthen, fewer bears will have enough fat and protein stores to survive the fast. "Some populations are expected to go extinct with climate warming, while others are expected to persist, albeit at a reduced population size," says Dr Peter Molnar of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

The US Endangered Species Act lists the polar bear as "Threatened".

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