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Polar Bear Thread

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by wrbanwal, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Game123

    Game123 Well-Known Member

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    :lol:

    I once asked a Vietnamese friend of mine if he had ever eaten dog meat. He said yes but there were two different types of dogs in Vietnam. One type was kept as a pet and was allowed to eat table scraps, etc. The second type was only fed grains/vegetables, no meats. It was the second type that was used for human consumption. He said that the taste was more bitter if the dog was allowed meats in its diet.:icon_eek:
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I had a friend named Jimmie who worked in a VW repair shop. He always brought his pit bull Hoover to work with him. Well, Hoover went into heat so Jimmie left her at home. One of the other mechanics, who was Korean, asked Jimmie about Hoover's whereabouts. Jimmie leaned back, patted his stomach, & smiled. The Korean man asked "You stuff with rice?" .

    A few days later Hoover was back at work with Jimmie. The Korean man said "Jimmie!! Me think you eat Hoover!" . :icon_eek: :lol:
     
  3. Game123

    Game123 Well-Known Member

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    Clash of cultures.:icon_rofl:
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Hell, lotsa folks eat squirrel & it's nothing but a rat with a fuzzy tail. :yes:

    Don't care for it myself except in a stew.
     
  5. Game123

    Game123 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I don't care to eat a tree rat myself, but I do like a good rabbit stew.:tup:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Multiple Polar Bears Discovered Swimming Many Miles From Alaska Coast


    http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2008/WWFPresitem9878.html


    Joe Pouliot
    joe.pouliot@wwwfus.org
    202-778-9730


    © WWF/Geoff York

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska, August 21, 2008 – An aerial survey by government scientists in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this week found at least nine polar bears swimming in open water – with one at least 60 miles from shore – raising concern among wildlife experts about their survival. A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) polar bear expert said the bears could have difficulty making it safely to shore and risk drowning, particularly if a storm arises.

    “To find so many polar bears at sea at one time is extremely worrisome because it could be an indication that as the sea ice on which they live and hunt continues to melt, many more bears may be out there facing similar risk,” said Geoff York, a polar bear biologist with WWF. “As climate change continues to dramatically disrupt the Arctic, polar bears and their cubs are being forced to swim longer distances to find food and habitat.”

    Scientists say the Arctic is changing more rapidly and acutely than anywhere on the planet, noting that 2007 witnessed the lowest sea ice coverage in recorded history. Satellite images indicate that ice was absent in most of the region where the bears were found on August 16, 2008 and some experts predict this year’s sea ice loss could meet or exceed the record set last year

    The discovery of the nine bears at sea came as the U.S. Minerals Management Service was conducting marine surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in advance of potential offshore oil development.

    WWF polar bear experts on the ground in Alaska are assessing the situation and will provide updates to the media as more details unfold.

    In May, the U.S. Department of Interior listed polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne cited the strong body of science pointing to the significant loss of Arctic sea ice habitat as the primary reason for protecting the bear with federal legislation. The State of Alaska has opposed the listing and has sued the federal government over its decision to list the bear.

    Professor Richard Steiner of the University of Alaska’s Marine Advisory Program said, “While these bears are swimming around in an ice-free coastal Arctic Ocean, the only thing the State of Alaska is doing is suing the federal government trying to overturn the listing of polar bears. The bottom line here is that polar bears need sea ice, sea ice is decaying, and the bears are in very serious trouble. For any people who are still non-believers in global warming and the impacts it is having in the Arctic, this should answer their doubts once and for all.”

    Help save endangered species by stopping the proposed changes that will weaken the Endangered Species Act
     
  7. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    U.S. Government Affirms that Climate Change is Putting Polar Bears in Peril

    http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2008/WWFPresitem9010.html



    For Release: May 14, 2008
    Joe Pouliot
    joe.pouliot@wwfus.org
    202-778-9730
    WWF Joins Suit

    WWF Joins Suit Opposing Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea

    WASHINGTON D.C., May 14, 2008 – Climate change is destroying vital polar bear habitat, putting the species at risk of extinction, the U.S. government said today as it listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s largest conservation organization, said the government’s decision clearly indicates that climate change impacts are already threatening the survivability of animals and habitats, and illustrates the urgency of preparing for and adapting to a rapidly changing climate.

    “Today’s decision is a tremendous victory for one of the world’s most iconic and charismatic animals,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “The other big winner today is sound science, which has clearly trumped politics, providing polar bears a new lease on life.”

    Roberts added, “While we applaud today’s announcement, many concerns remain. The 360-page document comes with numerous caveats which we have yet to fully analyze. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne was quite explicit in saying, for example, that continued energy production in Alaska remains a priority. WWF strongly disagrees with that position and recently became a plaintiff in the litigation challenging the Chukchi lease-sale—a priority area for WWF and home to one of our nation’s two polar bear populations.”

    “WWF commends the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for heeding the unequivocal science that the survival of the polar bear is inextricably tied to its Arctic sea ice habitat, which is melting more rapidly than at any other time in recorded human history,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of WWF’s office in Alaska. “We must take the necessary measures now to help save the polar bear. The ESA listing is an important first step, but we must also address the underlying cause of climate change: rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Sea ice, which polar bears depend on for hunting seals and other prey, melted to record low levels last summer. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced earlier this month that current measurements and projections indicate that the 2008 melt season may also be “extreme,” possibly shattering the record set in 2007. Some scientists have predicted that the summer Arctic sea ice could be gone entirely as early as 2013.

    “Based on the best available science, if current sea ice trends continue, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be lost by 2050,” said Geoffrey York, coordinator of WWF’s Polar Bear Conservation Program. “The threatened species designation will now provide additional legal protections for the bears, including the conservation of critical habitat and the development of a government-supported recovery plan.”

    Citing the well-documented loss of sea ice due to climate change, the FWS recommended in September 2006 that the Interior Department list polar bears as threatened under the ESA. The Interior Department was legally required to issue a formal decision on the ESA listing by January 9, 2008, but failed to do so. On April 28, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the Department to issue a formal decision on the listing by May 15.

    “Today’s announcement is long overdue,” said Williams. “The delay in listing has opened the door to accelerated oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. In February, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which is under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department, auctioned off almost 30 million acres of prime polar bear habitat in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea for oil and gas exploration.”

    WWF is part of a coalition of Alaska native and conservation organizations that filed suit in federal district court in Alaska, arguing that MMS did not adequately weigh the impacts of oil and gas activities on indigenous communities and wildlife along Alaska’s North Slope.

    “We should be taking every action possible to reduce stresses on polar bears, and we believe that oil and gas activities pose formidable risks to the Arctic sea ice ecosystem and the polar bears that inhabit it,” said York.

    WWF has more than 20 years experience in polar bear and Arctic conservation and has a presence in all of the Arctic countries.

    ###

    Note to editors:

    On April 28, 2008, a U.S. District Court ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to issue a decision by 2:00 p.m. on May 15 on whether to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

    * In February 2008, the Minerals Management Service opened nearly 30 million acres of prime polar habitat to oil and gas exploration.
    * In January 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a delay in listing the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.
    * In December 2007, NASA scientist Dr. H. Jay Zwally forecasted a total lack of summer sea ice as early as 2012.
    * In September 2007, following the news that all records for summer sea ice minimum had been broken, the U.S. Geological Survey released a detailed report concluding that the loss of sea ice will likely lead to localized extinctions of polar bears, with as much of a two-thirds population decline worldwide.
    * In June 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that warming of the world’s climate systems is “unequivocal” and pointed to human activities, such as the 70 percent increase of global heat trapping gases in the last three decades, as a leading cause of the changes.
    * On December 26, 2006 the Service released a proposal for the listing. Since then, numerous reports have documented the extensive global change due to rising temperatures.

    B-roll and high-resolution photographs of polar bears are available to accompany press stories based on this release and mentioning World Wildlife Fund.

    For more information: worldwildlife.org/polarbears



    DAMN TAMPA BAY RAYS!!!

    :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:


    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  8. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Experts Predict Polar Bear Decline

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/06/AR2005070601899.html



    SEATTLE, July 6 -- As the pack ice that is the bedrock of their existence melts because of global warming, polar bears are facing unprecedented environmental stress that will cause their numbers to plummet, according to a report by a panel of the world's leading experts on the species.

    In a closed meeting here late last month, 40 members of the polar bear specialist group of the World Conservation Union concluded that the imposing white carnivores -- the world's largest bear -- should now be classified as a "vulnerable" species based on a likely 30 percent decline in their worldwide population over the next 35 to 50 years. There are now 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears across the Arctic.


    A 30 percent drop in the number of polar bears is expected as diminishing ice packs affect the bears' ability to find food and to reproduce.
    A 30 percent drop in the number of polar bears is expected as diminishing ice packs affect the bears' ability to find food and to reproduce. (By Subhankar Banerjee -- Associated Press)
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    "The principal cause of this decline is climatic warming and its consequent negative affects on the sea ice habitat of polar bears," according to a statement released after the meeting. Scientists from five countries, including the United States, attended the meeting.

    "All of the evidence is heading in the same direction, and the trend is dramatic," said Scott Schliebe, who led the Seattle meeting and is polar bear project leader in Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "In a shrinking ice environment, the ability of the bears to find food, to reproduce and to survive will all be reduced."

    Schliebe emphasized that he was speaking for the panel and not for the U.S. government.

    The panel's conclusions became public this week as President Bush traveled to a Group of Eight meeting in Scotland, where U.S. officials have lobbied to prevent any specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases from being included in the meeting's final communique. The United States is the only member of the G-8 that has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for reducing emissions that many scientists say are causing Earth to warm up.

    The best longitudinal information on the effect of global warming on polar bears comes from the western coast of Hudson Bay, in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It shows a 17 percent decline in the polar bear population in the past 10 years, from 1,200 to fewer than 1,000. The panel here in Seattle used the Canadian research as the primary basis for its warning about the future of polar bears around the world.

    "We have seen with our own eyes that climatic warming is causing the ice to break up earlier, and that is affecting the survival of the bears," said Ian Stirling, a research scientist for the Canadian Wildlife Service.

    Ice is melting there about three weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago, said Stirling, who has been studying polar bears for 35 years.

    "For a polar bear, not all weeks are created equal," he said. "They are losing three weeks at the best time of the year for feeding on the ice, when seal pups are abundant and bears put on fat that they store for the four months that they have to live onshore."

    Having lost this critical hunting opportunity, polar bears in western Hudson Bay weigh about 15 percent less (about 150 pounds less for an adult male) than they did 30 years ago, Stirling said.

    "The bears are losing their physical condition," he said. "It is a cumulative process that is causing a steady decline in survival, particularly for cubs and sub-adults. It is causing the population to decline."

    In Alaska, the ice situation appears to be equally "grim" for polar bears, Schliebe said. He said that in three of the past four years, there have been record low ice packs in Alaska's Beaufort Sea region, pushing more and more polar bears on land for protracted periods. Hungry bears are drawn to village dumps and other settled areas where they come into conflict with people and are sometimes shot.

    Polar bears evolved from brown bears about a quarter-million years ago to become specialist carnivores, marine mammals that can thrive on ice packs and feast on seals. Climate change, though, is happening too fast for the bears to adapt, experts say.

    "They don't have time to evolve backwards," Stirling said.



    I LOST EVERY FUGGING BET THIS WEEKEND!!!

    :icon_twisted::icon_twisted::icon_twisted:
     
  9. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Polar Bear FAQ

    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/faq/

    Where do polar bears live?
    Polar bears range throughout the circumpolar north in areas where they can hunt seals at open leads. The five "polar bear nations" in which the bears are found include the U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway. Polar bears do not live in the southern hemisphere.
    Are polar bears endangered?
    Scientists predict that, if current warming trends continue in the Arctic, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050. At the most recent meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (held in Seattle in 2005), the world's leading polar bear scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears, five were declining, five were stable, two were increasing, and seven had insufficient data to make a determination. The group reclassified the polar bear as vulnerable on the IUCN World Conservation Union's "Red List of Threatened Species," noting that the species could become extinct due to sea ice changes. Individual countries with polar bears have reclassified the species as well. Citing to concerns about shrinking sea ice habitat, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced on May 14, 2008, that it is listing the polar bear as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act. Canada and Russia both list the polar bear as "a species of concern." The major threat to the polar bear is shrinking sea ice habitat due to climate change. Other threats include pollution, poaching, and industrial disturbances. Hunting could become a threat if populations are not well managed.
    How many polar bears are there?
    Scientists estimate that there are between 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears.
    What is the polar bear's scientific name?
    Ursus maritimus or the "sea bear." Its closest relative is the brown bear.
    How big are polar bears?
    Adult male polar bears measure 2.5 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) tall. They weigh 250 to 770 kilograms (550 to 1,700 pounds). Adult female bears are smaller. They measure 1.8 to 2.5 meters (6 to 8 feet) tall and weigh 90 to 320 kilograms (200 to 700 pounds). The largest polar bear ever recorded was a male weighing 2,209 pounds.
    What adaptations have polar bears made to their environment?
    Polar bears are perfectly adapted to survive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic, where winter temperatures can plunge to -45� C (-50� F). Two layers of fur provide the bears with such good insulation that they experience almost no heat loss. In addition, they are protected with a layer of blubber that can measure 11.5 cm (4.5 inches) thick. Compact ears and a small tail also prevent heat loss.

    Polar bears are so well protected from the cold that they have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold. Even in very cold weather, they quickly overheat when they try to run.

    Other adaptations include small bumps called papillae that keep their feet from slipping on ice; strong, powerful claws that enable them to catch seals; and a nose powerful enough to detect prey that is miles away.
    What do polar bears eat?
    Seals are the polar bear's primary prey, particularly the ringed seal and, sometimes, the bearded seal. When hunting is good, polar bears will typically eat only the fat and leave the rest of the carcass for scavengers including arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears.

    Polar bears also sometimes kill and eat both walrus and beluga whales. They have been known to hunt short-legged reindeer and sometimes snack on other foods including birds, bird eggs, kelp, and beached whales. On Norway's Svalbard Islands, polar bears were once found feasting on a 350-year-old bowhead whale carcass that was uncovered by a retreating glacier.
    What is the polar bear's place in the food chain?
    Polar bears top the food chain in the Arctic. They help keep the balance of nature by preventing an overpopulation of seals.
    What is a polar bear's life span?
    In the wild, polar bears live an average of 15 to 18 years, although biologists have tagged a few bears in their early 30s. In captivity, they may live until their mid- to late 30s. One zoo bear in London lived to be 41.
    How many cubs does a female bear have?
    There are usually two cubs in a litter. Female polar bears have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight (most frequently at age five or six). Polar bears have the one of the slowest reproductive rates of any mammal, with females typically producing five litters in their lifetime. (See more about cubs.)
    When and where are the cubs born?
    Polar bear cubs are born in snow dens called maternity dens. In the late fall, a female polar bear will dig a den after feeding heavily in April or May. Most choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or along hills near the sea ice. Some dig their dens in snow drifts out on the sea ice.
    What do the cubs look like?
    At birth, the cubs are 30 to 35 centimeters (12 to 14 inches) long and weigh little more than half a kilogram (about a pound). They are blind, toothless, and covered with short, soft fur. They are completely dependent on their mother for warmth and food.
    When does the family emerge from the den?
    The cubs are born in November or December and remain in the den until March or April. During that time, the mother does not eat, drink, or defecate. The cubs grow rapidly while they are in the den, thanks to the calories in their mother's rich milk, which has a fat content of roughly 31%.
    How long do the cubs remain with their mother?
    Polar bears cubs normally stay with their mother until they are 2 1/2 years old, although some bears in the Hudson Bay area wean their young at age 1 1/2. During the time that the cubs are with their mother, they must learn how to hunt and survive in one of the Earth's harshest environments.
    Do polar bears hibernate?
    Polar bears do not hibernate in the true sense of the word. True hibernators experience a marked drop in heart rate and a body temperature that plunges to nearly 0� C (32� F). Polar bears do not enter a state of deep hibernation; instead they undergo "walking hibernation." Only pregnant female bears enter a den. They do so in the fall and give birth to their cubs in November or December. The bear family will remain in the den until March or April.
    Are there different populations of polar bears?
    Scientists recognize nineteen distinct populations of polar bears, but no subspecies.
    Does the polar bear have any enemies?
    Only humans and, on rare occasions, other polar bears. Climate change is the biggest threat that the bears face.
    What is the polar bear's scientific classification?
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Carnivora
    Family: Ursidae
    Genus: Ursus
    Species: Ursus maritimus


    :bolt::bolt::bolt:
     
  10. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Is Global Warming Killing the Polar Bears?


    http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB113452435089621905-vnekw47PQGtDyf3iv5XEN71_o5I_20061214.html


    By JIM CARLTON
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    December 14, 2005

    It may be the latest evidence of global warming: Polar bears are drowning.

    Scientists for the first time have documented multiple deaths of polar bears off Alaska, where they likely drowned after swimming long distances in the ocean amid the melting of the Arctic ice shelf. The bears spend most of their time hunting and raising their young on ice floes.

    In a quarter-century of aerial surveys of the Alaskan coastline before 2004, researchers from the U.S. Minerals Management Service said they typically spotted a lone polar bear swimming in the ocean far from ice about once every two years. Polar-bear drownings were so rare that they have never been documented in the surveys.

    But in September 2004, when the polar ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of the northern coast of Alaska, researchers counted 10 polar bears swimming as far as 60 miles offshore. Polar bears can swim long distances but have evolved to mainly swim between sheets of ice, scientists say.

    The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. "Extrapolation of survey data suggests that on the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds," the researchers say in a report set to be released today.

    While the government researchers won't speculate on why a climate change is taking place in the Arctic, environmentalists unconnected to the survey say U.S. policies emphasizing oil and gas development are exacerbating global warming, which is accelerating the melting of the ice. "For anyone who has wondered how global warming and reduced sea ice will affect polar bears, the answer is simple -- they die," said Richard Steiner, a marine-biology professor at the University of Alaska.

    The environmental group Greenpeace began airing a 30-second commercial yesterday in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and other cities showing an animated adult polar bear and a cub on a cracking ice floe. The two bears, nowhere near land, slip underneath the water. "Polar bears may soon be extinct because of global warming," the voice-over states. It ends with "Global Warming: It's the Real Thing," a takeoff of a Coca-Cola Co. commercial featuring polar bears.

    Some experts say that climate change may indeed be shrinking the ice pack, but they dispute that emissions are the main culprit or that significantly cutting greenhouse gases would really make a difference. "Whether humans are responsible for some, most, or all of the current warming trend in the Arctic, there is no proposal on the table that would actually prevent continued warming or reverse present trends," said Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nongovernment organization based in Dallas. "The question is how to adapt to future changes in climate, regardless of the direction or the cause."

    In addition to documenting polar-bear deaths, the Minerals Management Service researchers, Chuck Monnett, Jeffrey Gleason and Lisa Rotterman, also found a striking shift in the bears' habits. From 1979 to 1991, 87% of the bears spotted were found mostly on sea ice. From 1992 to 2004, the percentage dropped to 33%. Most of the remaining bears have been found either in the ocean or on beaches, congregating around carcasses of whales butchered by hunters. In the past, polar bears were rarely seen at such kill sites, because they spent their time hunting their favorite meal -- seals -- on sea ice.

    Marine experts consider the findings -- to be presented at a marine-mammal conference this week in San Diego -- an ominous sign. Some have warned for years that a rapid thawing of the Arctic from global warming could endanger species like the polar bear. Already, a warmer Alaska over the past half-century has been linked to increased erosion of rivers and streams, insect infestations and the undermining of pipelines and roads as the permafrost thaws.

    Alarmed by the swift changes, the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, a consortium of the state's tribes, earlier this month passed a resolution urging that the U.S. government enact a mandatory program to reduce global warming.

    Some scientists predict polar bears could become extinct within the next century because they have adapted over the millennia to only hunting on ice. If they try to swim in disappearing ice conditions to catch seals, more are likely to tire and drown, scientists say. Polar bears that stay onshore aren't adapted to hunting land animals like caribou, which are preyed upon by more-aggressive grizzly bears. Polar bears also require more fat intake than most food on land offers them, experts say.

    "As the sea ice goes, that will direct to a very great extent what happens to polar bears," said Steven Amstrup, a polar-bear specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage, Alaska.

    Another study set to be released at the marine-mammal conference shows what might happen to the Alaskan polar bears over time. Researchers from the USGS, the University of Wyoming and the Canadian Wildlife Service found that the population of polar bears in Canada's western Hudson Bay -- near the southernmost habitat for the bears in the world -- fell to 935 in 2004 from 1,194 in 1987, a 22% drop. Researchers said the decline -- the first recorded for these bears -- came in tandem with an extension by nearly a full month in the time it takes for Hudson Bay to ice over after the summer.

    "Our findings may foreshadow how more northerly populations will respond to projected warming in the Arctic ecosystem," wrote Mr. Amstrup, a co-author of the report.

    Previous studies by the U.S. and Canadian governments support a link between the decline in sea ice in the Arctic and the ways polar bears try to adapt to their surroundings. For example, researchers say polar bears in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska and Canada used to spend most of their lives jumping from ice floe to ice floe in pursuit of seals. Only pregnant bears would occasionally wander onto the mainland, in search of a den.

    But weekly aerial surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that, over the past five years, an unusually large number of bears have congregated along the beaches. Between the coastal town of Barrow, Alaska and the Canadian border, about 300 miles east, researchers counted as many as 200 bears on land, said Scott Schliebe, director of the Fish and Wildlife's polar-bear project. Many bears could be seen gathered around whale carcasses near villages like Kaktovik, which lies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where the Bush administration is pushing for drilling.

    Scientists measured the distances from where the bears were gathered to the nearest ice sheets at sea and found this correlation: The farther the ice was from shore, the larger the number of bears were found on land.

    Scientists estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears world-wide, including about 2,000 that frequent the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. The latest population study by federal officials, in 1997, suggested the Alaskan bear population wasn't endangered. An update is expected by the end of next year.
     
  11. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Warming Is Seen as Wiping Out Most Polar Bears


    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/science/earth/08polar.html


    WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 — Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050, even under moderate projections for shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, government scientists reported on Friday.

    The finding is part of a yearlong review of the effects of climate and ice changes on polar bears to help determine whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists estimate the current polar bear population at 22,000.

    The report, which the United States Geological Survey released here, offers stark prospects for polar bears as the world grows warmer.

    The scientists concluded that, while the bears were not likely to be driven to extinction, they would be largely relegated to the Arctic archipelago of Canada and spots off the northern Greenland coast, where summer sea ice tends to persist even in warm summers like this one, a shrinking that could be enough to reduce the bear population by two-thirds.

    The bears would disappear entirely from Alaska, the study said.

    “As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear,” said Steven Amstrup, lead biologist for the survey team.

    The report was released as President Bush was in Australia meeting with Asian leaders to try to agree on a strategy to address global warming. Mr. Bush will be host to major industrial nations in Washington this month to discuss the framework for a treaty on climate change.

    The United Nations plans to devote its general assembly in the fall to global warming.

    A spokeswoman for the White House declined to comment on the report, saying it was part of decision making at the Interior Department, parent of the survey.

    In the report, the team said, “Sea ice conditions would have to be substantially better than even the most conservative computer simulations of warming and sea ice” to avoid the anticipated drop in bear population.

    In a conference call with reporters, the scientists also said the momentum to a warmer world with less Arctic sea ice — and fewer bears — would be largely unavoidable at least for decades, no matter what happened with emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide.

    “Despite any mitigation of greenhouse gases, we’re going to see the same amount of energy in the system for 20, 30 or 40 years,” said Mark Myers, the survey director. “We would not expect to see any significant change in polar conditions regardless of mitigation.”

    In other words, even in the unlikely event that all the major economies were to agree to rapid and drastic reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, the floating Arctic ice cap will continue to shrink at a rapid pace for the next 50 years, wiping out much of the bears’ habitat.

    The report makes no recommendation on listing the bears as a threatened species or taking any action to slow ice cap damage. Such decisions are up to another Interior Department agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, which enforces the Endangered Species Act. That decision is due in January, officials have said. The wildlife agency had to make a determination on the status of a threatened species because of a suit by environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    In some places, the bears have adapted to eating a wide range of food like snow geese and garbage. But the survey team said their fate was 84 percent linked to the extent of sea ice.

    Separate studies of trends in Arctic sea ice by academic and government teams have solidified a picture of shrinking area in summers for decades to come.

    A fresh analysis by scientists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to be published Saturday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says sea-ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean will decline by more than 40 percent before the summer of 2050, compared with the average ice extent from 1979 to 1999.

    This summer the ice retreated much farther and faster than in any year since satellite tracking began in 1979, several Arctic research groups said.

    John H. Broder reported from Washington, and Andrew C. Revkin from New York.
     
  12. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17798-polar-bears-run-riot-as-ice-melts.html

    You can almost hear Sarah Palin cocking her rifle. As climate change causes sea ice to shrink, the number of "problem" polar bears appears to be increasing.

    "Hungry bears don't just lie down – they go looking for an alternate food source," says zoologist Ian Stirling at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. "In many cases this brings them into human settlements and hunting camps."

    Stirling's team found that around the town of Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay – the "polar bear capital of the world" – the number of bears reported as attacking humans, homes and hunting camps more than tripled between 1970 and 2005, from 20 to 90 per year. The shorter the sea ice season, the greater the reports of problem bear activity.

    This increase in problem bears comes despite a 22 per cent decline in the west Hudson Bay polar bear population since the late 1980s.
    Natural freezers

    Sea ice in Hudson Bay now melts three weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s. This has reduced the time polar bears have to hunt seals and build up sufficient fat reserves to survive the ice-free summer months without food, driving them to look for food in towns. Many of the problem bears were young males, which need the most energy.

    "Northern communities often have game stored outside their homes in natural freezers and this is a strong attractant for polar bears," says team member Andrew Derocher.

    "Previous research has postulated that climate change will boost numbers of problem bears," Derocher says. "This is the first evidence for the link."

    Derocher expects that future research will show that climate change is also responsible for increases in the number of problem polar bears in towns on the north coast of Alaska and in eastern parts of Russia.


    :flag:
     
  13. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    http://www.translucence.com/polarbear1095/polarbear1095.html

    The western shores of Canada's Hudson Bay, particularly the area around Churchill, Manitoba, are probably the best place in the world to watch polar bears. Each autumn, hundreds of bears make their way to the shores here as temperatures drop. They have spent the summer hibernating in inland dens, without eating, after being forced off of the ice when it melted in the spring. Now, falling temperatures tell them that the Bay will soon freeze, and that means it's nearly dinnertime for the hungry bears. As October draws to a close, they collect along the shore to wait for the ice. As soon as the Bay freezes, they disappear onto the ice and spread out to hunt for the meal they've not had in six months.

    Hundreds of wildlife watchers and photographers travel to Churchill each year during this two or three week window in late October to early November. My visit to this very speacial place was on a photography trip organized by Joseph Van OS Photo Safaris.

    The trip to Churchill is not difficult, but it is a bit out of the ordinary. No roads lead into Churchill, so the only practical way to get there is by flying. Although Churchill is a small town (perhaps a thousand residents), it has been an arctic military training ground, and so it has an airport with paved runways capable of servicing reasonably large commercial jets. I only mention that the runways are paved because our flight made one stop on the way to Churchill, landing in a town with a gravel runway. Landing in a large jet on gravel does not feel all that much different from landing on cement, but it certainly looked strange to see the gravel runway when we landed.

    Leaving the airport in a small bus and approaching town, the first indications that this isn't like everyplace else are the signs along the roadside, warning people not to leave the road because of polar bear danger. Another indication is the "poar bear campground" located near the airport. This place is also known as "polar bear jail" and is a long windowless steel shed. In the parking lot is a bear trap made from a section of steel pipe. This place is where polar bears who wander into the town of Churchill are kept until the Bay freezes and they are taken by helicopter onto the Bay a number of miles from town. The bears used to be shot, but with with the town's dependence on the tourism that derives heavily from the bears, they are now simply held and released. The first attempts to release the bears were not particulrly successful. Bears were airlifted as soon as they were caught, but without the possibility of hunting until ice forms on the Bay, the hungry bears would simply wander back into town. Now, they are held until there is ice on the Bay, and the releases are much more successful.
    "Polar Bear Campgound," a metal building in which problem polar bears are kept until they are re-released Polar bear trap made from section of corrugated metal pipe

    Churchill is a small collection of mostly small buildings and homes, some of which are well-worn from exposure to the elements. You can tell that it's a relatively safe small town, and that it gets cold here, by simply visitng the grocery store parking lot; people often leave their car's engines running while they go in to shop.
    Our trip was split into two parts. We spent the first few nights staying in motels in town, and the last few nights living in "the bunkhouse", which is a collection of "rolling moibile homes" on the tundra. Accomodations in town were actually quite good. Our group ws split among two motels; the Tundra Inn and the Aurora Inn. Meals were adequate, with Arctic Char (a fish) frequently an option on the menu.

    Leaving town, it's obvious that you are on the edge between the tundra and the boreal forest; a few scrubby trees dot the otherwise flat landscape. The gravelly ground has a number of willows, but also a number of bare spots. Shallow ponds are everywhere.

    The vehicles used for polar bear watching are called Tundra Buggies. There are two kinds of Tundra Buggies; a smaller type that is a school bus with a balcony fitted onto the back, and a larger type that is a custom made vehicle on giant tires.

    We used the larger buggies exclusively, and I was glad we did. The smaller buses can only operate on the relatively few roads that are in the area, and their low height to the ground makes them much more exposed to curious (and hungry) bears. I know I would be very uncomfortable packed with many others onto the rear balcony of the smaller buggies, to watch a bear that can get uncomfortably high up on the balcony's wall.

    On the larger buggies, which we used, giant tires keep the vehicles from sinking into the mud, allow them to travel on relatively thin pond ice without breaking through (usually), and keep the windows high enough that bears cannot stick their heads in, even when standing on their hind legs. The tundra buggy's interiors are outfitted with two rows of school bus seats, have school bus windows on both sides, a large heater (only used when the windows are closed, which is not too often on a photography trip), a bathroom, and a large outdoor balcony on the back, on which several people can fit for photography or just watching. For photography, in particular, the extra space in the larger buggies was invaluable.

    Polar bears are not the only wildlife that can be seen at this time of year; willow ptarmigan, snowy owl, caribou, and arctic fox can also be seen.

    A helicopter flight is a good way to get an overview of the terrain, as well as to see caribou, and perhaps a polar bear resting on ice at the edge of the Bay or getting out of the wind by hiding behind a willow. It also gave us a chance to stop at a migratory bird research station (called "Nestor One") on the tundra. The station is surrounded by high fences to keep bears out. Getting on and off the helicopter was the only time we were actually on the ground in polar bear areas during the entire trip.
     
  14. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Polar Bears of Churchill (p. 2 of 2)

    The tundra buggies are always in contact with each other via radio, in case of trouble or to report a bear sighting. It's not uncommon for several tundra buggies to follow a single bear. The bears generally do not react to the buggy's presence as long as we approach slowly and remain at least 20 yards (meters) from them.

    The key to polar bear photography, as in many types of wildlife and landscape photography, is patience; we would often watch a single bear for an hour or more before taking any pictures. With a constant wind and clouds, and with temperatures hovering around 15 degrees Fahrenheit (about -9 degrees centrigrade), it was still pretty balmy for the bears. As a result, they spend most of the time sleeping and trying not to overheat by moving too much.

    The last few nights of the trip, we stayed on in the bunkhouse, a train-like line of five trailers that are placed on the tundra each autumn for polar bear season. Staying in the bunkhouse for a few nights had several significant advantages; the bears (and foxes) could come to us 24 hours a day whenever they were drawn by the scent of the food cooked for us or were simply curious, we could simply relax without the somewhat hectic pace of tundra buggy days, and it allowed us to experience the tundra more directly than we otherwise could.

    The bunkhouse consists of two sleeping trailers, a general-use trailer, a dining/kitchen trailer, and a storage trailerr that contained our water, food, gasoline, and generator. The sleeping trailers were similar to those on a train; an isle down the middle with two rows of bunks on each side; an upper and a lower row. Each bunk had a small shelf to store items, and a small (perhaps 1 ft x 1 ft, or 30 cm x 30 cm) window to look out of, and a toilet/shower in the middle of the car. The general purpose trailer contained a number of chairs, and openable windows lining both sides. A stove in the corner kpet the car warm and provided a place to keep a pot of water hot for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. The kitchen car had several comfortable tables and a large cooking area. In order to go from one car to another, we had to go outside onto platforms betwen the cars. The platforms had walls to waist level, and steel or aluminum bars above to keep bears out. The platforms, as well as the windows in the general purpose car, provided great locations from which to watch and photograph bear.

    Visitors to the bunkhouse arrive by tundra buggies, which dock at one end of the bunkhouse. More urgent needs (such as repairs) are met by flying personnel to the bunkhouse on helicopters, which land right on the bunkhouse's roof.

    I was hoping to see the aurora while staying at the bunkhouse, but constant clouds kept that from happening. On two evenings, however, the clouds cleared a bit just as the sun was setting. On these nights, we had a beautiful view of the sunset itself; a brilliant yellow ball of flame embedded in a band of bright gold, with a pillar of yellow light (provided by ice crystals in the air) extending up into the sky above the sun. But to get the best view on these evenings, I turned my back to this spectacle, and was rewarded with the unforgettable sight of a polar bear slowly walking nearby, its fur turned to fire by the setting sun.
     
  15. bol-sky

    bol-sky BoltTalker

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    What leads to global warming ?
    We human beings should reflective ourselvese , If the natura leaves the humans behind , then I would rather to die
     

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