The picture is worth a thousand words. Very sad thousand words. This picture tells the story of hapless polar bears clinging on to whatever is left of their home. As global warming maintains steady escalation, evidenced by the rise in Arctic temperature by 4 degree Centigrade in the last 50 years, the future of these magnificent creatures seem severely grim.
Swimming a couple of hundred miles to land and ice is not a big deal for these bears, but with the Arctic ice melting at a frightening rate, the distance increases consequently, demanding greater energy from the polar bears, equipped with two coats of insulating fur and a four inch layer of blubber.
Losing their home is not the only plight these animals are facing. Thanks to global warming, they are losing their health and worse, their lives. Their hunting seasons considerably shortened, the Arctic witnesses polar bears starving. The stats stare us in the face – their numbers have declined by nearly one quarter in just 20 years to around 25,000. At this rate, the species might soon be extinct, specially with most females giving birth to one cub, instead of the usual triplets. The bears have always maintained an average height of 10 ft and a weight of 1700 lbs. But the scientists have observed that in the struggle for survival, the bears, especially females, are now much thinner. Scientists believe that four bears which recently drowned off the coast of Alaska had simply been unable to cope with a violent storm. A key piece of data under consideration is a September report from the U.S. Geological Survey that predicted polar bears could disappear from places where Arctic sea ice is melting fastest, including the northern coast of Alaska.
It’s the moral duty of man, the prime instigator of global warming, to do something about it. And fast. Scientists say the survival of polar bears may rely on special conservation areas, but even that seems a forlorn hope with a United Nations report expected to say that sea levels will carry on rising for over 1,000 years even if greenhouse gases are curbed.
Unfortunately, the depleting situation of the polar bears, which practically cries to the heavens, has failed to convince United States. The nation announced that it required more time to decide whether global warming actually poses a threat for polar bears. Dale Hall, head of the Fish and Wildlife Service, told reporters it would take as much as a month more to analyze all the information, thus extending the deadline for deciding whether to list the big white bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. However, hall denies that the delay has been caused by ‘substantial scientific uncertainty’.
He further added:
The scientific data would help us understand that ‘foreseeable future’ question: what’s going to happen in the next 45 years, because that’s really the question.
Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity plan to start the legal process with a formal notice to sue for quicker action very soon.
Meanwhile, the polar bears await their fate.