"More Polar Bear Populations in Decline"

"There is rising concern among  polar bear biologists that the big recent summertime retreats of sea ice in the Arctic are already harming some populations of these seal-hunting predators. That was one conclusion of the  Polar Bear Specialist Group, a network of bear experts who  met last week in Copenhagen to review the latest data (and data gaps) on the 19 discrete populations of polar bears around the Arctic. The group, part of the  International Union for Conservation of Nature, includes biologists in academia and government and at nonprofit conservation organizations. Only one bear population is increasing (in the Canadian high Arctic), while eight are declining in numbers, the scientists said. At its last meeting, in 2005, the group concluded that five populations were in decline. Three populations appear to be stable and seven are too poorly monitored to gauge a trend."

Andrew C. Revkin reports in Dot Earth for the New York Times July 6, 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009