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All but a few populations of polar bears found in the high Arctic could be extinct by 2100 due to the drastic loss of sea ice across their range, according to a study in the Journal Nature Climate Change published Monday. There are 19 distinct subpopulations of polar bears across the Arctic from Alaska to Siberia and all but one face being wiped out due to the loss of sea ice. Without ice, polar bears must survive on land, long distances from their food supplies, causing them to go hungry. Ironically, the Interior Department in its study of the environmental impacts of drilling in the U.S. Arctic found that it would not harm polar bears, which are already forced to build their winter dens and birth their cubs on land instead of ice.
The New York Times reported that the lead author of the study, Peter K. Molnar, a researcher at the University of Toronto Scarborough, painted a grim picture, saying: “There is very little chance that polar bears would persist anywhere in the world, except perhaps in the very high Arctic in one small subpopulation” if globally we remain on the current trajectory for greenhouse-gas emissions. The best estimate is that there are only about 25,000 remaining polar bears in the Arctic. Their main habitat is sea ice, but because of the rapidly increasing warming in the region, the amount of summer ice has declined by roughly 13 percent per decade compared to the 1981-2010 average. The researchers looked at climate models and ice-free days projections and assumed that the warming would continue in the business as usual path. They found that for most polar bear subgroups, because of the loss of sea ice the bears would not be able to find enough food and thus starve.
A trio of humpback whales was trapped for a few weeks well inland in an Australian river crawling with crocodiles — something never witnessed before, according to CNN. The whales caused quite a stir — they were stranded in the murky East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park in Australia and could not find their […]
The World Wildlife Fund’s recently released 2020 Living Planet report made one thing clear: the past 50 years have been an unsustainable path for biodiversity. Humans need nature, and the costs of ignoring the staggering loss of global wildlife populations (68% since 1970) are immense for our wellbeing and for that of our planet. To […]
Yesterday the Paulson Institute, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Cornell University released a major new report which takes the most in-depth and comprehensive analysis ever completed about biodiversity financing. Timed in conjunction with the run-up to the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the report highlights the total investment needed to […]
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