Polar bears face extinction in less than 70 years because of global warming

Published: Friday, September 11, 2009, 15:50 [IST]
 

London, September 11 (ANI): A new research has warned that polar bears face extinction in less than 70 years because of global warming.

"Recent projections suggest polar bears could be extinct within 70 years," Eric Post, associate professor of biology at Penn State University, who led the latest study, told the Telegraph.

"But we think this could be a very conservative estimate. The outlook is very bleak for them and other creatures such as ringed seals," he said.

Melting ice is causing Polar bear numbers to drop dramatically, scientists warn.

"The rate at which sea ice is disappearing is accelerating and these creatures rely on it for shelter, hunting and breeding. If this goes, so do they," said Post.

Others also at risk include ivory gulls, Pacific walruses, ringed and hooded seals and narwhals, small whales with long, spiral tusks.

One of the problems is that other animals are moving north, encroaching on their territory, spurred by increasing temperatures, pushing out native species.

The animals are also struggling with the loss of sea ice.

The international team analyzed average temperature in the Arctic over the last 150 years and warned many animals that are dependent upon the stability and persistence of sea ice are faring especially badly.

Polar bears and ringed seals both give birth in lairs or caves under the snow and can lose many newborn pups when the lairs collapse in unusually early spring rains, triggered by climate change.

Among animals migrating further north are red foxes, which are driving out the smaller Arctic foxes. (ANI)

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