If humans are not able to reverse the current trend of global warming it might translate into extinction for these cuddly snow bears. With the polar caps melting fast, polar bears are losing their icy habitat. They have already been declared ‘threatened’ species in the U.S. under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. It is difficult to estimate a global population of polar bears – however, biologists use an estimate of about 20,000 to 40,000 polar bears worldwide. Close to half of the polar bear population lives in Canada.
In the report, the US Fish and Wildlife Service note “The single most important step for polar-bear conservation is decisive action to address Arctic warming.” This recovery plan is part of the process for listing the species as threatened in 2008.
Furthermore, the report says, “Short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered.”
Now, stopping the warming of the waters of the Arctic will certainly require a commitment from all countries in the world; according to Jennifer Kohout, who is the regional program manager and co-chair of the polar bear recovery team at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
In addition, Secretary of State John Kerry pointed out that right now nations need to dramatically cut down Carbon dioxide emissions—particularly of black carbon and methane — since short-lived greenhouse gases could be an especially potent cause of Arctic warming. He goes on to say, “These pollutants are a threat to everybody.”
Additionally, climate change expert and University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov, remarks that there might be fluctuations of temperatures in regards to Arctic sea ice cover over the next decade or more, however, there is a long-term trend for higher temperatures with less ice, and that spells trouble for polar bears.
Polyakov notes, “The major players now in the game cannot agree on what to do. China and the United States, they have their own industrial interests, their own political interest, and there is no consensus in the global community of what to do and how to do it.”