Our Beautiful World

Ice melting under the Feet of the Polar Bear!  


From the norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, follow this link.

March 25th, 2002.

British and canadian researchers now says that the rapid melting of the arctic ice, is threatening
with a dramatic reduce in the
population of the Polar Bear. And if the ice on the North Pole is
melting, then that will be in addition to the ice melting on the South Pole
.

For some time studies have been going on, and those will be published later this year. It will
show that the thickness of the arctic ice-layers is shrinking, and that this will force hundreds
of Polar Bears to die each year ahead of us. As many as every 10th bear can disappear
from a population which today only totals about 25.000.

Polar Bears have their natural environment on the ice, and when the ice disappear, they are
caught on land (if they reach ashore in time). That is a situation where it is difficult to hunt for
their normal feed. Young bears also will die while they are still in caves after birth, as those are
collapsing when the snow is melting. Newborn bears are smaller than human babies, and blind.
They need weeks before they can leave their cave, but now there are several indications that an
increasing number of babies, and even mothers, are found dead as they can not breathe when
the snowcaves collapses.

In the Hudson Bay area in Canada whe increasing warmer temperature has forced bears ashore when the ice is melting during the arctic summer, from July through October. In the past years,
the returning of the ice has been delayed with as much as a month. So on the shores there are
a great number of Polar Bears waiting for the ice to come back, while they are all loosing
their weight, on the wrong side of the winter to come.

Five years ago, the thickness of the arctic ice reached an average of 5 meters. Now it has been
reduced to 3 meters, and before the year 2080 it has probably disappeared. Of course, that's a
long time, but in just a few years time there will be a catastrophal decrease in the numbers of
Polar Bears. However, north of Norway the Barents-sea will be open for trafic all the year.
From the norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, follow this link.



The images used herein, except where otherwise stated, were obtained from IMSI's Master Clips/MasterPhotos©Collection,
1985 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA 94901-5506, USA

It is not only the change in climate that is threatening the Polar Bear. In short time they will also
suffer from pollution. Researchers at the norwegian Polar-Institute has shown that Polarbears
on the island of Svalbard has a reduced immune-defence which make them an easy ofer
for sickness due to PCB-pollution.

As for the norwegian-russian population, which at present are between 2.000 and 5.000
animals (why can't they count them more precisely?) the situation is not too bad. The change
in climate has so far not changed the ice sorrounding Svalbard. This winter there has been
an unusual large number of bears on the west-coast of Svalbard. But such a variation does
not necessarily mean that it comes from the global warming. It might as well be something else -
we just have to figure out what, if we are wrong about the effect of the global warming.
From the norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, follow this link.


Is this all our children will ever see of the Polar Bear?
The images used herein, except where otherwise stated, were obtained from IMSI's Master Clips/MasterPhotos©Collection,
1985 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA 94901-5506, USA

The above two stories have been freely translated from norwegian to english. Of course we know we are not perfect,
and therefore we appreciate anyone giving us some corrections......


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