Thursday, October 4, 2007

Endangered animals – Polar bear

Polar bear is the largest bear on Earth and lives in Arctic. This large carnivore is weighing 300-600 kg (660-1320 lb), which depends on age and sex, where adult females are about half the size of males. This arctic predator hunts everything he can eat, including humans and is very dangerous when nearby. But as many other species before him polar bear has become endangered species too and is brought to the edge of extinction because of global warming that is melting the ice in the polar sea.

Some predictions estimate that number of polar bears by the year 2050 will be only two thirds of the current number, all because of global warming as a direct consequence of fossil fuels' use in the industry. Temperatures are increasing rapidly especially in Arctic and as a result ice is melting away; the worst scientific predictions estimate that in year 2040 all ice on Arctic will melt away unless some ecological miracle happens. This great ice bar totally depends upon the Arctic sea ice because only these conditions can enable successful hunting and surviving and therefore can't survive loss of the ice that will undoubtedly happen if this emission of greenhouse gases continues. They're already some negative consequences noticed by scientists: thinner bears, decreased reproduction rate and reduced juvenile survival.

Significantly perhaps, on the same day as Kyoto protocol entered into force on the February 16, 2005 (with exception of USA), the Center for Biological Diversity filed a long awaited scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and since there was no reply from Bush administration they sued Bush administration on December 15, 2005 for ignoring this petition. Success didn't come right away but still came on December 27, 2006 when administration announced a proposed rule to list the polar bear as endangered species. Final listing administration must be done until the January 9, 2008 and we're hoping that this will indeed be the date that will mark polar bears as endangered species because they're really are endangered.

Once declared endangered species polar bears will have at least some chance of surviving and this could also mean change of US environmental policy because their salvation means reducing emission of fossil fuels and to stop relying on fossil fuels. However relying on fossil fuels is very long American tradition so this won't be an easy step to made. We can only hope that this step will be directed in the right way because global warming isn't only great threat to polar bears but also a great threat to the humanity as well. Climate changes have become more than obvious and are causing severe problems in almost all corners of the world and something must be done to stop this. In other words we could easily say that salvation of polar bears could be the first major step to this planet’s salvation. Well let us at least hope it is.

Global warming as a direct consequence of greenhouse gases emission has taken heavy toll on polar bears since Arctic ice is melting and therefore creating unsuitable habitat for polar bears. This big ice bear is one step away from extinction but US government is still failing in proclaiming polar bears as endangered animals which they sadly and truly are.

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