Hungry polar bears need our help now.
Scientists began reporting in 2009 that shrinking Arctic sea ice is forcing some hungry male polar bears to cannibalize bear cubs.
At least seven cases of mature male polar bears eating bear cubs were spotted this year among the animals around Churchill, Man.
Ian Stirling, a retired Environment Canada biologist who specializes in the Churchill bears, calls it the highest incidence of cannibalization he has ever seen.
Stirling says evidence suggests the cubs are being killed for food, not just so the male can mate with the sow.
He says the Hudson Bay sea ice, which the bears use to get at the seals they need to fatten up for winter, isn’t appearing until weeks later than it used to.
In a melting Arctic, polar bears must travel hundreds of miles to find food or confront starvation, drowning and even cannibalism. Their pups enter the world to face collapsing dens of thinning ice and often too little food.
Despite publicly recognizing the disastrous impact of global warming on polar bears, Interior Secretary Salazar has not pursued policies to save them. Worse, he’s sided with Big Oil and the Bush administration. He has continued to allow risky oil exploration in America’s Polar Bear Seas—the Chukchi and Beaufort, even though these fragile and remote seas could not withstand a fraction of the Deepwater Horizon’s spill.
Secretary Salazar’s determination to deprive the polar bear of needed protections wins praise from wildlife foes in Congress, such as Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) who called polar bear protections, “excessive regulations” and from powerful oil and gas industry lobbyists.
“We welcome the administration’s decision.”–Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, if current trends continue, approximately 2/3 of the world’s polar bears will be gone
by 2050. And, Secretary Salazar’s sympathies toward Big Oil and Dirty Coal are certainly setting us down that path.
Polar bears have enough threats from illegal hunting, toxic pollution and climate change. They don’t need an adversary in the Cabinet. Help us continue to pressure the Obama administration to become stewards of polar bears before it’s too late by making your holiday donation today.
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Thank you for standing with us in our fight for wildlife and wild places.
Endangered Species Coalition and Nature’s Crusaders
Images courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders library