"Polar Bears Face Steep Declines Because of Melting Sea Ice: US Study"

"Imperiled polar bears will see a population crash in most parts of the Arctic Ocean if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, causing accelerated melting of the sea ice the bruins depend on for survival, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.

A study led by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) biologists showed that a worldwide failure to reduce the release of atmospheric pollutants tied to the burning of fossil fuels will likely lead to 'a greatly decreased state' for polar bear populations in Alaska and elsewhere, except for an Arctic region north of Canada where summer ice is known to persist longer.

The world's 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears, which can stand as high as 11 feet (3.35 meters) and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds (635 kg), use floating sea ice as platforms for hunting their preferred prey of ringed seals, for mating and to travel vast distances quickly and without expending crucial energy reserves on long-distance swimming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Laura Zuckerman reports for Reuters July 1, 2015.

Source: Reuters, 07/02/2015