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ALERT: Polar Bears Will Soon Be Extinct Without Decisive Action on Climate Change

Jan 10, 2017 05:43 AM EST
Polar Bear
Plastic takes about 500 years to completely degrade. They contain toxic substances that may harm wildlife.
(Photo : Bob Couey/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images)

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service have recently released a Conservation Management Plan to prevent polar bears from becoming extinct.

The new recovery plan was made to address the human-induced threats being faced by the polar bears. These threats include overhunting of the bears and oil spills. However, the recovery plan does not tackle the greatest adversary experienced by the polar bears, the rapid decline of sea ice due to the warming climate.

"This recovery plan is too risky for the polar bear. Recovery plans work, but only if they truly address the threats to the species," said Shaye Wolf, climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity, in a report from Washington Post. "Sadly, that simply isn't the case with this polar bear plan."

Sea ice plays a crucial role in polar bears' overall survivability. Polar bears use sea ice to hunt for their food and breed. Ice seals, one of the primary diets of polar bears, give birth in snow caves dug in sea ice during late springs. Polar bears can go on months without eating but needs to replenish its lost nutrients during the ice seals birthing season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted that they have no authority over the warming climate that causes the sea ice decline. They simply don't have the power to reduce carbon emissions from human activities, making it nearly impossible for them to deal with the sea ice decline face on.

Due to this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will just tackle on the tertiary threats to the survivability of the bears. Under the new plan, native people living in Alaska will now adjust the number of polar bears they hunt depending on the rise and fall of the animal's population.

The new plan details how polar bears become attracted to human garbage when it's hungry. This causes the bears to close in to human settlements, forcing people to kill the bear.

At present, the global population of polar bears is estimated to be 22,000 to 31,000. Polar bears have a total of 19 subpopulations. Out of those, two are already in decline due to sea ice loss.

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