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sydneyst
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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 05:22 pm

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Ice Finally Forming for Bears Off Churchill




http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/content/waiting-waiting-continued-pbinews-november-2011


Snow is finally blanketing the tundra near the town of Churchill, and fragile sea ice is beginning to form along the coast of Hudson Bay. But the ice hasn't started to consolidate yet and is still too thin to support a polar bear's weight.

And so they wait.

Most of the polar bears are conserving energy by napping in snowy day beds or hunkering down in the willows. Some venture out to shore to test the ice; others engage in sparring sessions.

"The long range-forecast suggests that freeze-up won't take place for at least two weeks," says our senior scientist, Steve Amstrup. "So far, it looks like it will be another delayed freeze-up, like last year."

The longer and longer ice-free seasons on Hudson Bay are straining the limits of this population's fat reserves. Scientists report seeing more thin bears this year and fewer family groups. Tragically, they also discovered two dead bears on the tundra.

Yet another sign of a stressed population are the number of polar bears venturing too close to town. Churchill's polar bear holding facility is full and Manitoba Conservation officers have started airlifting bears to the coast north of town where a band of ice has formed. Shortly thereafter, they spotted a seal kill, suggesting that at least one bear found a meal.


Manitoba Conservation officer prepare to airlift a polar bear to the coast north of town. Officers handle the bears with great skill and care in a program designed to keep bears and people safe.

"Looking out at the unusual sight of open water of Western Hudson Bay in mid-November and seeing these skinny bears can be very disheartening, but we need to use this as yet another motivator and reminder that we can help conserve polar bears and their arctic habitat," Amstrup says. "It's important to remember that it's not too late, we can turn this around. We have the ability to achieve the needed CO2 targets, if only we have the social and political will to do so."

This year through the Polar Bear Cam we're sharing the late freeze-up with the world. Judging by the comments pouring in from viewers around the world, the thin bears and lack of ice in Hudson Bay are helping to serve as a wake-up call to action.

Last edited on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 05:26 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 01:40 am

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Authorities: Cubs have small chance after mom shot


By SANDRA CHEREB Associated Press The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:37 PM EDT



 

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The odds are against the survival of two Lake Tahoe bear cubs that were orphaned when a deputy loaded the wrong kind of bullet into his weapon and shot the mother after the animal broke into a garage cluttered with garbage, authorities said Tuesday.

The killing of the bear has sparked outrage, with most of it levied against the resident responsible for the trash.

Chuck Arnold, manager of the trailer park where the bears were foraging, told Lake Tahoe News (
bit.ly/twKgiz) he has started eviction proceedings against the residents. In a post on the online publication's website, he said a "petition is being signed by several residents to make sure they know they are not welcome in our community."

"They do not deserve to live in Lake Tahoe and this in the general consensus of our neighborhood," he wrote.

Other angry postings on Facebook questioned the intelligence of the deputy, but Arnold said it was a tragic accident involving a bear that lived in the area for at least a decade and was never aggressive or the cause of property damage.

"I'm sure they got a frantic call from someone. Mistakes happen," he told The Associated Press. "The deputies, they were the last link in a long chain of events started by someone else."

Arnold said the family of five had more than a month's worth of garbage in the garage.

"With the cooler weather, there was not that strong of an odor but a bear could have smelled it 10 miles away," he said.

The Douglas County sheriff's office said the unidentified deputy accidentally shot the black bear with a live round rather than a rubber bullet Friday night. The wounded bear then had to be destroyed.

When deputies arrived, the cubs scurried off and ran up a tree. They have not been seen since.

"The odds are against these animals," said Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Halsey said in a statement that deputies fired rubber wildlife control rounds at the larger bear but there was no effect.


Last edited on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 01:57 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Aug 28th, 2011 01:15 pm

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Polar bear death at BP oil field under investigation


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) Aug 25, 2011 · -

Federal authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a polar bear at an Alaska oil field operated by BP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the oil company said on Thursday.

The female bear was shot in early August by a security guard working for a BP contractor and died of its wounds about 11 days later, the agency and BP officials said.

BP said the guard had been trying to ward off the bear rather than kill it and believed he was firing nonlethal ammunition.

It appeared to be the first time since oil began flowing from Alaska's North Slope in 1977 that a polar bear was accidentally killed at a petroleum facility there, said Bruce Woods, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman in Alaska.

"We're taking this investigation very seriously and hope to find out what happened," Woods said.

Polar bears, considered to be at risk because the Arctic sea ice they depend upon is dwindling, are listed as threatened with extinction under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are also managed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which generally forbids hunting of the animals.

BP, like other oil operators in Alaska's Arctic, holds a special permit allowing "nonlethal harassment" of polar bears, allowing the company to scare them away from facilities or otherwise cause them to change their movements, Woods said.

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said the security guard appeared to have killed the bear by mistake. The guard believed his gun was loaded with beanbag-type devices used to ward polar bears away from facilities, Rinehart said. Instead, the gun apparently was loaded with pyrotechnic shells, he said.

The shooting occurred at the Endicott oil field, where the bear was prowling along a causeway toward employee housing, Rinehart said. Before turning to a weapon, the guard tried using lights and noises, but the bear seemed unfazed and remained fairly aggressive, Rinehart said.

After being shot, the bear moved from the immediate area but remained in the general vicinity, where BP guards monitored the animal, he said. The bear eventually died on a nearby island on August 14 or 15, he said.

Polar bears, which dwell along Alaska's Arctic coastline, occasionally cross through oil fields on the North Slope. In accordance with federal laws and regulation, the bears are monitored by the field operators.

BP recorded 541 polar bear sightings between 2005 and 2010, Rinehart said. Of those cases, 159 required some level of hazing, he said. There is one other documented case of a polar bear dying at an oil facility.

In 2002, BP alerted federal officials because a polar bear lingering around the Endicott field appeared to be starving and in distress, Rinehart said. A federal biologist eventually euthanized the animal, he said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)


Last edited on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 01:17 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu May 26th, 2011 01:59 pm

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Polar Bear Cub Rescued After Separation from Mother

http://www.mail.com/news/us/444530-polar-bear-cub-was-reviewed-return-to-arctic.html
Arctic
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Photo: AP





Photo by AP



Photo by AP



Pat Lampi – Photo by AP



Photo by AP



Photo by AP



Photo by AP



Photo by AP

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A rescued polar bear cub is thriving at the Alaska Zoo but federal wildlife officials said Wednesday they briefly considered trying to reunite the wild tyke with its mother after the adult bear was spotted on sea ice of the state's northern coast.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials ultimately concluded it was unclear whether the mother bear would re-accept the small cub after walking more than 30 miles away onto sea ice.

"The odds of being able to get this cub back to the family group were really, really low," said Rosa Meehan, the USFWS marine mammals manager in Alaska. Meehan spoke Wednesday as zoo officials gave the young female cub the chance to expand her surroundings — a romp in an outdoor pen as reporters and photographers looked on.

The cub, now weighing 30 pounds, moved tentatively when its cage door was opened, but as an hour went by, it started to romp, climbing a sand hill and sliding down, knocking around balls and splashing in a small pool.

The cub, its sister and their mother were captured April 15 by a U.S. Geological Survey research team. The cub weighed 19 pounds. Researchers placed a radio collar on the mother and tags on the cubs' ears.

On April 26, employees of ConocoPhillips called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and said a lone polar bear cub had been spotted north of an ice road. The oil company restricted traffic along the road and was asked to watch for the sow.

The cub was monitored until 1 a.m. the next day, when coastal fog rolled in. The mother bear had not been seen. When fog lifted at noon, neither the cub nor its mother could be found.

Late April 28, the cub was finally spotted again, alone, on a ConocoPhillips drilling pad four miles south of its location along the ice road. Wildlife officials concluded the cub had no chance of surviving on its own and likely would not reunite with its mother. The cub was captured at 1 a.m. April 29. It was flown to Anchorage that night.

The ear tag confirmed the cub had been captured previously but its mother had slipped out of the radio collar. At 17 pounds, it weighed two pounds less than when it was captured April 15.

However, a day later, the USGS research crew spotted the adult female, identified by a paint mark with her other cub on sea ice roughly 30 miles from the abandoned cub. Wildlife officials immediately discussed reuniting the bears, which are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

"The goal would be to keep a family group together," Meehan said. "That's irrespective of whether they're threatened or not."

Agency officials ultimately decided no.

Without a radio collar, there was no guarantee they could find the sow again. Both the sow and the cubs were underweight when the USGS scientists captured them and had been through that stressful experience. Both bears on the ice would have had to be tranquilized again. It was not clear that the captured cub could handle the stress of being moved back north.

"The other issue at that point is, we don't know why the cub was abandoned," Meehan said. That meant the mother may not have welcomed back the cub.

The low body weight of the bears may have been a factor, she said. However, the sow probably was not out there choosing one cub over another, Meehan said. The bears were walking in a monochromatic, rough environment, moving and climbing. Arctic ice is surprisingly noisy. The cub may have simply gotten separated in bad weather or could not keep up.

Meehan said it's a hard to imagine the bear not walking the vast expanse of ice.

"And yet, if you think of the specifics of this case, the choice for this cub was perish in the wild or come into captivity," she said. "''With this life trajectory for her, this bear has the opportunity to be an ambassador for polar bears, for the Arctic, and to really be an educational symbol. That's a tremendous benefit."

The agency has not picked a final home for the bear but Meehan said a likely destination is the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky. It has all the physical and handler requirements for the bear.

"They also are going to have the next youngest polar bear at that facility as well, and

Last edited on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 05:24 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Mar 17th, 2011 05:06 pm

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A Rare View of Polar Bears from 60 Minutes



 
A rare view of polar bears - 60 Minutes - CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com
 
‎60 Minutes on CBS News: A rare view of polar bears - Bob Simon reports on the latest "spy-cam" techniques used by wildlife filmmakers to show animals - in this case, polar bears - up-close and in a way audiences have never seen them before.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7358644n&tag=related;photovideo

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 Posted: Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 07:43 am

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Black bears' metabolism dips significantly during hibernation, study shows


Their body temperature drops only about 10 degrees, but their metabolism falls by more than 75%, keeping them from eating, drinking, urinating or defecating.



A black bear pokes his nose through the brush in Shenandoah Park, Virginia. (Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images / February 20, 2011)

Black bears have a method of hibernation previously unobserved in any mammal, researchers reported Thursday.

Although their body temperature drops only about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, their metabolism falls by more than 75%, allowing them to sleep through the winter without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating, researchers reported in the journal Science.

Previous research had indicated that the bears' temperature does not fall like that of other animals — which often drops near freezing — during their periods of winter quiescence, and many researchers had therefore argued that the animals do not really hibernate.

But the new data on metabolism "show that bears do indeed hibernate," wrote animal physiologist Gerhard Heldmaier of Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in an editorial accompanying the report.

The five black bears (Ursus americanus) in the study were so-called nuisance bears, captured because they kept nosing around too close to human communities. They were donated to the University of Alaska's Institute of Arctic Biology, where they were fitted with transmitters to monitor their heart rates. They were then placed in isolated dens in the woods where oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output could be measured. Their activity was also monitored with infrared cameras.

"This required a unique facility," said biologist Brian M. Barnes, director of the institute and lead author of the report. "We found some surprises."

Typically, hibernating mammals lower their metabolism by about 50% for every 18-degree drop in body temperature. The bears, however, lower their metabolism 75% with only a 10-degree drop, and that drop isn't constant. After about seven days, Barnes said, they start to shiver and their body temperature goes up about 8 degrees, only to start dropping again.

These temperature cycles continue throughout the winter, but the bears' metabolism remains low during the whole period.

When the bears emerged from their dens in mid-April, their body temperatures returned to normal and the researchers expected their metabolism to do the same. Their metabolism was only about 50% of normal for nearly a month before it finally returned to summertime levels, the researchers found. "That was very surprising," said co-author Oivind Toien, also of the Institute of Arctic Biology.

One of the female bears was pregnant when she entered hibernation, and her body temperature did not decrease. The fetus died, however, because of a congenital deformity, and after it was stillborn, the female's body assumed the same pattern as that of the other bears in the study.

If researchers could figure out how to trigger the metabolic condition in humans, experts said, it would provide a good way to preserve life after accidents or other medical emergencies, and in the longer term might make it easier for humans to endure long voyages in space.

Reducing metabolism after a heart attack or stroke might extend the "golden hour" for treatment to a "golden day" or even longer, Barnes said.

thomas.maugh@latimes.com

Last edited on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 07:45 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Nov 10th, 2010 07:49 pm

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Dear Fergie and Sydney,

Last week, in response to a Center for Biological Diversity suit, a federal judge ordered the Department of the Interior to reconsider a Bush administration decision that granted polar bears only partial protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Now we have just a few short weeks to convince the Obama administration to do what the law and science require: Give the polar bear full protection as endangered, rather than merely threatened, under the Endangered Species Act.

Thanks to an interim court ruling in the Center's ongoing litigation, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has until December 23 to reconsider the definition of an endangered species used by the Bush administration to deny polar bears endangered status despite the best science -- science that shows an overwhelming probability of extinction for two-thirds of the world's polar bears by 2050 and a high risk of extinction even within the next 10 to 20 years.

This means we have a small window of time to convince Salazar to break with flawed Bush policies and upgrade protection of the polar bear from threatened to endangered.
Please, ask Salazar to grant full endangered status to the polar bear today.

Click here to find out more and take action.

Last edited on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 07:53 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Nov 4th, 2010 08:47 pm

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Judge Moves Polar Bear Toward True Protections
From CBD

In an important step for saving one of the Arctic's most iconic and imperiled mammals, a federal judge this morning ordered the feds to rethink their decision not to grant polar bears the most extensive protection possible under the Endangered Species Act. In response to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the court said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn't justified its decision to classify the bears as merely "threatened," rather than the more protective "endangered." The agency is now forced to explain exactly why the polar bear isn't "endangered" -- which, if real science is used, will be hard to do.


The Center has been working to save the polar bear since 2005, when we first petitioned to protect it under the Endangered Species Act. After years of our litigation with two allies, in 2008 the species was listed as threatened. But denying the bear the more appropriate "endangered" designation allowed the Service to issue a special rule exempting greenhouse gases from regulation under the Act. That meant polar bears would receive no protection at all from the very worst threat driving them toward extinction: global warming. An "endangered" finding will compel true and meaningful protection for this magnificent white bear.
Learn more about our groundbreaking campaign to save the polar bear.

Last edited on Thu Nov 4th, 2010 08:47 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Mon Nov 1st, 2010 10:16 pm

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Powerful Video of Polar Bear Taking on a Walrus Pack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbtpcGi2DWY&feature=related

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 Posted: Mon Nov 1st, 2010 09:13 pm

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Polar Bears International--Great Website

Check out "Myths and Facts" and other videos
http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/programs/tundra-shorts

Last edited on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 09:21 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Oct 21st, 2010 09:00 pm

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D.C. Judge May Hand Lifeline to Struggling Polar Bears
from Center for Biological Diversity



There was a glimmer of hope this week for one of the Arctic's most iconic animals. A federal judge has indicated he'll order the Interior Department to reconsider its decision to designate the polar bear as merely "threatened" instead of the more protective status of "endangered." After achieving Endangered Species Act protections for the polar bear in 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies were in court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday seeking additional protections for the polar bear, one of many Arctic species imperiled by climate change. Much of the hearing focused on the legal difference between "threatened" and "endangered." The judge rejected the government's argument that the "endangered" designation was only for species facing "imminent" risk of extinction. He indicated he'll send the decision back to Interior to come up with a more reasonable explanation for how those terms should be applied to the polar bear.


The development may be a hopeful sign (though nothing's guaranteed) that more significant protections could be coming for the polar bear and other species threatened by loss of sea ice and other effects of climate change. It's clear they need help: Scientists estimate that if current greenhouse gas pollution trends continue, two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be gone by 2050, including all of Alaska's, while the rest will near extinction by century's end.
Read more in The Washington Post.

Last edited on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 09:01 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Apr 8th, 2010 08:44 pm

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Grazing Halted to Protect Yellowstone Grizzlies

via Center for Biological Diversity and Idaho Statesman
 


Capping a successful campaign by the Center for Biological Diversity, last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture halted sheep grazing to protect vital grizzly bear habitat on about 7,500 acres of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The move stems from settlement of a lawsuit by the Center and Western Watersheds Project to stop the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station from harming endangered species by grazing thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres of public lands.

Besides threatening bighorn sheep with domestic-sheep disease transmission, the grazing exposes grizzlies, wolves, and lynx to deadly predator-control measures like steel leghold traps and strangulation snares, aerial gunning, and poisons. Just last year, Sheep Station-related activities were responsible for killing two entire wolf packs.

The area where grazing was halted provides important connective habitat between Yellowstone and the vast wilderness of central Idaho. While more grazing restrictions in this area are warranted to protect Yellowstone wildlife, last week's decision is a big step forward. The Center will push for more habitat protection as the Sheep Station continues to analyze the environmental impacts of its activities.

Get more from the Idaho Statesman.

Last edited on Thu Apr 8th, 2010 08:45 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 07:31 pm

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Polar Bear and Walrus Update from USFWS and World Wildlife Fund
 
http://wwfblogs.org/climate/content/us-fish-and-wildlife-service-reports-pacific-walrus-and-polar-bear-stocks-alaska

 
excerpts:  01/03/2010 –
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Wednesday (30 December 2009) released stock assessment reports for the Pacific Walrus and polar bears in Alaska.  The reports note the growing impacts of climate change on both species.
In a Federal Register notice (Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report [PDF]), the FWS announced publication of a report on the Alaska stock of walruses; and two other reports on the status of polar bears.  The notice also responded to a series of questions raised during an earlier public comment period for previous drafts of the reports.
 
…The information in the report is not reassuring.  Over the past decade, the number of walrus coming to shore along the coastline of the Chukchi Sea in Russia has increased. Female and young walrus are arriving earlier and staying longer at coastal haulouts as summer ice disappears...
Unlike the walrus, polar bears in Alaska already are listed under the ESA.  For both stocks, the primary concerns are habitat loss associated with climate change along with "potential overharvest," industrial activity and other human activities…
 Sea ice provides a platform for hunting and feeding, for seeking mates and breeding, for movement to terrestrial maternity denning areas and occasionally for maternity denning, for resting, and for long-distance movements.  Sea ice is rapidly diminishing throughout the Arctic and large declines in optimal polar bear habitat have occurred in the Southern Beaufort and

Last edited on Sun Feb 28th, 2010 07:32 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Dec 27th, 2009 12:16 pm

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Greetings from Sun Bears and Siew Te Wong

http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org
 





On behalf of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and all the sun bears in the world, I would like to wish you a BEARY Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you all for being a big fan of sun bears and supporters of BSBCC over the past year. With your help and support in many ways, our first new bear house will be complete in two more months and soon the confiscated sun bears within our care can have a better and more natural home to stay.

It is not easy that we come this far. We did it because of your help and support!

It has been a pleasure and honor to be able to work with you and the sun bears. With our Phase 1 of the construction come to an end, we hope you could continue to support us and help us on the Phase 2 of the construction work and our works planned for the future!

You can always read more about our works and the bears at  http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/
.

Tired of reading? You can also visit our youtube site to watch videos about sun bear http://www.youtube.com/user/BSBCC

Thank you all!

We wish you a Beary Christmas!  We wish you a Beary Christmas!  We wish you a Beary Christmas!    


Last edited on Sun Dec 27th, 2009 12:20 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 12:05 am

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Dear Fergie,
A world without polar bears by the end of this century: That's what scientists are predicting unless we take action now. As the planet warms up, the sea ice polar bears depend on for survival is melting. If Ursus maritimus is to survive into the next century, we must do everything we can to protect its sea-ice habitat.

But instead of protecting polar bears in their time of need, the Obama administration is pushing Bush-era oil drilling projects in the Arctic. Continuing Bush policies of leasing and selling polar bear habitat for fossil-fuel exploration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is about to approve oil-industry plans to drill in these critical areas next summer.

The good news is it's not too late to save the polar bear -- if we join together and take immediate action. In response to the Center for Biological Diversity's successful lawsuit, the administration has proposed designating more than 200,000 square miles of Arctic coastline and sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear.

Help save the polar bear by submitting your comments to Secretary Salazar today. Let the federal government know that polar bears cannot survive unless their habitat is protected from industrialization and oil and gas development.


Click here to find out more and take action.
If you have trouble following the link, go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1783.



Sample letter:

Subject: Protect Polar Bear Habitat


I am writing to thank you for proposing to protect more than 200,000 square miles of Arctic coastline and sea ice as polar bear critical habitat. The polar bear is quickly losing the sea ice it depends on due to global warming. At the same time, the species faces increased threats from industrial oil and gas development in the Arctic. Please permanently protect polar bear critical habitat and prohibit oil and gas drilling projects there to give the iconic polar bear a fighting chance of survival.


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