Polar bears under threat


The polar bear is under serious threat of becoming extinct because of global warming.

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Now, they are one of nature's most hardy survivors, living in one of nature's harshest climates, but the polar bear, the world's largest land carnivore, is now under serious threat of becoming extinct.

The animal is to be listed on America's endangered species list which has recognized the damaging effect of green house gases on their habitat.

Now, it's hoped the move will compel the US to make industry cut pollution.

Bernard Smith has this report:

That these magnificent animals could be endangered by global warming is not news to environmentalists but that the US government agrees suggests the Bush administration is (1) coming round to the threat of climate change, after years of resistance.

Polar bears use ice floes for hunting. The ice is (2) breaking up earlier, leaving less time to hunt and (3) build up fat reserves.

Global warming is melting the ice. What's driving the global warming is pollution from down here, where we are. They pollution from our power plants and our cars and other factors.

A final decision on whether polar bears would be added to the endangered list is yet to be made but there's no doubt they're in danger with only twenty to twenty-five thousand polar bears left world-wide. And scientists predict that another thirty per cent will die over the next forty-five years.

Environmental groups say polar bears should be extinct by the end of the century if measures aren't taken to stop global warming.

If the polar bear becomes protected, then federal agencies would be legally bound to make sure they don't do anything that jeopardizes the animal's survival. That could include oil and gas exploration.



(1) coming round: accepting the idea at last

(2) breaking up: chunks of ice are separating earlier

(3) build up: gradually accumulate fat reserves