Friday, September 07, 2007

Most Polar Bears Could Be Gone by 2050

Washington (ToGW) - Two-thirds of the world's current polar bear population could be gone by 2050 if predictions of melting sea ice hold true, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Friday.

Polar bears could become extinct even sooner than predicted because sea ice has been melting faster than expected, the USGS said in a report aimed at determining whether the arctic bear should be classified as a threatened species.

"Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately two-thirds of the world's current polar bear population by the mid 21st century," the report's executive summary said.

"Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering putting polar bears under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Via :: Reuters