Tags: polar bears | threatened | climate change | action

Feds Write Off Polar Bears Without Climate Change Action

Image: Feds Write Off Polar Bears Without Climate Change Action

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska in a March 6, 2007. (Susanne Miller/US Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 01:57 PM

Federal officials appeared to write off the polar bear without "decisive action to address Arctic warming.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pinpointed that the quickly declining sea ice in the Arctic was "the primary threat to polar bears" and that action was needed to address Arctic warming driven by the human emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, The Washington Post reported.

The service acknowledged, according to the Post, that "short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered."

The agency released its polar bear recovery plan Monday, addressing threats such as oil spills and excessive hunting, but also citing the bleak challenges facing the animal and its sea ice habitat, The Associated Press reported.

"In order to recover polar bears, we believe that we have to address the climate change problem over the long-term," Jenifer Kohout, co-chair of the recovery team, told the AP.

Two of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears, in the southern Beaufort Sea off Alaska's north coast and Canada's Western Hudson Bay, are declining because of sea ice loss, the AP said.

"This plan outlines the necessary actions and concrete commitments by the service and our state, tribal, federal and international partners to protect polar bears in the near term," Greg Siekaniec, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska regional director, said in a statement, according to Scientific American. "But make no mistake; without decisive action to address Arctic warming, the long-term fate of this species is uncertain."

Polar bears are currently listed as "threatened," which requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to come up with a management plan, in accordance with the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Scientific American noted

David Douglas, U.S. Geological Survey researcher, said the outlook for the polar bear is only grim if international governments do nothing about climate change and there is still hope about the Paris climate change agreement signed in December, 2015, The Washington Post reported.

"There are two ends of a spectrum," Douglas told the Post. "One is not hopeless."

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Federal officials appeared to write off the polar bear without decisive action to address Arctic warming.
polar bears, threatened, climate change, action
350
2017-57-10
Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 01:57 PM
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