Passive Climate Change Action May Drive Polar Bears To Extinction
Toothless polar bears are going extinct. Despite a "recovery" plan, environmentalists say that humans are pushing for the extinction since the preventive measures presented are insufficient. To curb the problem, large-scale greenhouse mitigation is called for.
The death of polar bears can be attributed to harsh changes to their environment like melting of sea ice due to rising global temperature. If the situation does not improve, it won't be long until the species becomes non-existent due to the limited, or worse, non-action by human beings.
Dwindling Polar Bear Population
Currently, there are about 26,000 remaining polar bears according to the Center for Biological Diversity. "Polar bears are starving and drowning as their sea ice melts away, but this toothless plan shrugs off the one solution that will save them - carbon pollution cuts," Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity said.
Last Jan. 9, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Conservation Management Plan's (CMP) near-term survival strategy for polar bears. However, focusing on the short-term effect is not enough to save the species from extinction.
"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 Service's Alaska regional director said in a press release. "But make no mistake; without decisive action to address Arctic warming, the long-term fate of this species is uncertain."
The plan calls for the reduced human-bear conflicts, management of subsistence harvest, habitat protection, and minimized contamination from oil spills. The plan also includes the constant monitoring of the efficacy of the project. Extinction of polar bears are not only caused by rising global temperature but also other man-made factors such as toxic chemical pollutants.
Effects Of Ice Melt
Reports say that polar bears were listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the year 2008. Last December, the National Sea and Ice Data Center recorded the second lowest December sea ice extent covering only an average of 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles). Even Greenland has been experiencing unexpected ice melts due to greenhouse gasses. Every inch of carbon dioxide emitted has an equivalent Arctic sea ice melt.
The rising global temperature should not only concern U.S. Fish and Wildlife but also all environmental groups and government agencies worldwide. However, President Donald Trump's nonchalance when it comes to climate change issues may put the fate of polar bear in jeopardy.