40% Decline in Polar Bears in Alaska, Western Canada Heightens Concern

"The number of polar bears in eastern Alaska and western Canada has declined by 40%, according to a scientific study that raises more questions about the impact of global warming on the creature that has become the symbol of some of its worst effects.

The study, published in the current issue of Ecological Applications, was carried out by scientists from several groups, including the U.S. Geological Survey and Environment Canada, that tagged and released polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010. The bear population in the area shrank to about 900 in 2010, down from about 1,600 in 2004, according to their findings.

Perhaps even more worrisome, just two of 80 polar bear cubs that the international team tracked between 2003 and 2007 survived, according to the study. Normally about half of the cubs live."

Michael Muskal reports for the Los Angeles Times November 17, 2014.

Source: LA Times, 11/19/2014