Thursday, May 03, 2007

Planet in Peril: Polar Bears

Mark your calenders because this won't happen very often. I was disappointed in the Planet in Peril segment on last night's AC 360. I was so looking forward to the report from the Arctic; I expected either a cuddly, fluffy little baby polar bear snuggling in Anderson's arms or frolicing in the snow with his baby brothers and sisters, or at least a glimpse at the underweight, shivering in the cold polar bears who are at risk due to the melting ice and shortage of food. It seems like wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin found the biggest, healthiest bear he could find, shot it with a tranquilizer dart, and measured him. Is this supposed to get us motivated to learn about global warming and what we can do to slow it down?

Greenpeace had a segment in one of their specials where they showed a polar bear that showed the effects of not enough food and dwindling habitat. It was an adult bear, but unlike the furry, fluffy bears you usually see, this one was obvious underweight. His fur coat seemed to just hang on him and he was visibly shivering. When polar bears lose much of their body fat, they can't tolerate the cold temperatures of their habitat. Even though the Arctic is warming, it is still cold.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, "Polar bears are literally drowning from global warming, unable to swim the increasingly longer distances between land and receding sea ice. They depend on this sea ice to hunt their primary food source--seals. With ice forming later in the fall and breaking up sooner in the spring, the time period bears can forage for food is shrinking every year." There is also a dramatic change in cub survival.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree - that's kinda wierd, I thought they only shot bears when they had to move them from a dangerous situation. Would rather see baby bear + Anderson playing in the snow wearing one of those trapper hats! tina