Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Warnings about the future

If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years.

Warnings about the future of the polar bear are often contrasted with the fact that worldwide population estimates have increased over the past 50 years and are relatively stable today.[130][131] Some estimates of the global population are around 5,000 to 10,000 in the early 1970s;[132] HP Compaq 484786-001 Battery

other estimates were 20,000 to 40,000 during the 1980s.[34][45] Current estimates put the global population at between 20,000 and 25,000.[29]There are several reasons for the apparent discordance between past and projected population trends: Estimates from the 1950s and 1960s were based on stories from explorers and hunters rather than on scientific surveys. HP Compaq 484787-001 Battery

Second, controls of harvesting were introduced that allowed this previously overhunted species to recover.[133] Third, the recent effects of climate change have affected sea ice abundance in different areas to varying degrees.[133] Finally, the prediction methods used to predict the decline in the future population of bear bears excluded key forecasting principles and included unquestionable assumptions. [135] HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

Debate over the listing of the polar bear under endangered species legislation has put conservation groups and Canada's Inuitat opposing positions;[31] the Nunavut government and many northern residents have condemned the U.S. initiative to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Many Inuit believe the polar bear population is increasing, and restrictions on sport-hunting are likely to lead to a loss of income to their communities. HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

On 14 May 2008 the U.S. Department of the Interior listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, citing the melting of Arctic sea ice as the primary threat to the polar bear.[139] While listing the polar bear as a threatened species, the Interior Department added a seldom-used stipulation to allow oil and gas exploration and development to proceed in areas inhabited by polar bears, HP Compaq 491279-001 Battery

provided companies continue to comply with the existing restrictions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The main new protection for polar bears under the terms of the listing is that hunters will no longer be able to import trophies from the hunting of polar bears in Canada.[140]

The ruling followed several years of controversy. HP Compaq 491654-001 Battery

On 17 February 2005 the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition asking that the polar bear be listed under the Endangered Species Act. An agreement was reached and filed in Federal district court on 5 June 2006. On 9 January 2007, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the polar bear as a threatened species. A final decision was required by law by 9 January 2008, at which time the agency said it needed another month. HP Compaq 491657-001 Battery

On 7 March 2008, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of the Interior began a preliminary investigation into why the decision had been delayed for nearly two months. The investigation is in response to a letter signed by six environmental groups that United States Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall violated the agency's scientific code of conduct by delaying the decision unnecessarily, HP Compaq 496897-001 Battery

allowing the government to proceed with an auction for oil and gas leases in the Alaska's Chukchi Sea, an area of key habitat for polar bears. The auction took place in early February 2008.[141] An editorial inThe New York Times said that "these two moves are almost certainly, and cynically, related." Hall denied any political interference in the decision and said that the delay was needed to make sure the decision was in a form easily understood. HP Compaq 408545-001 Battery

On 28 April 2008, a Federal court ruled that a decision on the listing must be made by 15 May 2008;[143] the decision came on 14 May to make the polar bear a protected species.On 18 July 2011, Charles Monnett, whose work was cited by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, was suspended from his work at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. HP Compaq 408545-141 Battery

Investigators are reviewing Monnett's research methods as well as the significance he attached to his discovery in 2004 of polar bear carcasses in the Arctic, but supporters argue that the investigation is essentially "a smear campaign" against Monnett.Upon listing the polar bear under the Endangered species act, the Department of the Interior immediately issued a statement that the listing could not be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, HP Compaq 408545-142 Battery

although some policy analysts believe that the Endangered Species Act can be used to restrict the issuing of federal permits for projects that would threaten the polar bear by increasing greenhouse gas emissions.[139] Environmental groups have pledged to go to court to have the Endangered Species Act interpreted in such a way.[139] On 8 May 2009, the new administration of Barack Obama announced that it would continue the policy. HP Compaq 408545-241 Battery

The polar bear is only the third species, after the elkhorn coral and the staghorn coral protected under the Endangered Species Act due to climate change. On 4 August 2008, the state of Alaska sued U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, seeking to reverse the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species out of concern that the listing would adversely affect oil and gas development in the state. HP Compaq 408545-261 Battery

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that the listing was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available, a view rejected by polar bear experts.[147]

In Canada, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada recommended in April 2008 that the polar bear be assessed as a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). HP Compaq 408545-262 Battery

A listing would mandate that a management plan be written within five years, a timeline criticized by the World Wide Fund for Nature as being too long to prevent significant habitat loss from climate change.For the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, polar bears have long played an important cultural and material role. Polar bear remains have been found at hunting sites dating to 2,500 to 3,000 years agoand 1,500 year old cave paintings of polar bears have been found in the Chukchi Peninsula. HP Compaq 408545-621 Battery

Indeed, it has been suggested that Arctic peoples' skills in seal hunting and igloo construction has been in part acquired from the polar bears themselves.The Inuit and Eskimos have many folk tales featuring the bears including legends in which bears are humans when inside their own houses and put on bear hides when going outside, and stories of how the constellation which is said to resemble a great bear surrounded by dogs came into being.[92] HP Compaq 408545-721 Battery

These legends reveal a deep respect for the polar bear, which is portrayed as both spiritually powerful and closely akin to humans.[92] The human-like posture of bears when standing and sitting, and the resemblance of a skinned bear carcass to the human body, have probably contributed to the belief that the spirits of humans and bears were interchangeable.[92] HP Compaq 408545-741 Battery

Eskimo legends tell of humans learning to hunt from the polar bear. For the Inuit of Labrador, the polar bear is a form of the Great Spirit, Tuurngasuk.[149]

Among the Chukchi and Yupik of eastern Siberia, there was a longstanding shamanistic ritual of "thanksgiving" to the hunted polar bear. HP Compaq 408545-761 Battery

After killing the animal, its head and skin were removed and cleaned and brought into the home, a feast was held in the hunting camp in its honor. In order to appease the spirit of the bear, there were traditional song and drum music and the skull would be ceremonially fed and offered a pipe.[150] Only once the spirit was appeased would the skull be separated from the skin, taken beyond the bounds of the homestead, and placed in the ground, facing north.[94] HP Compaq 409357-001 Battery

Many of these traditions have faded somewhat in time, especially in light of the total hunting ban in the Soviet Union (and now Russia) since 1955.

The Nenets of north-central Siberia placed particular value on the talismanic power of the prominent canine teeth. They were traded in the villages of the lowerYenisei and Khatanga rivers to the forest-dwelling peoples further south, HP Compaq 409357-002 Battery

who would sew them into their hats as protection against brown bears. It was believed that the "little nephew" (the brown bear) would not dare to attack a man wearing the tooth of its powerful "big uncle" (the polar bear).[94] The skulls of killed polar bears were buried at specific sacred sites and altars, called sedyangi, were constructed out of the skulls. Several such sites have been preserved on theYamal Peninsula. HP Compaq 412779-001 Battery

Their distinctive appearance and their association with the Arctic have made polar bears popular icons, especially in those areas where they are native. The Canadian Toonie (two-dollar coin) features the image of a polar bear and both the Northwest Territoriesand Nunavut license plates in Canada are in the shape of a polar bear. HP Compaq 415306-001 Battery

The polar bear is the mascot of Bowdoin College in Maine and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (see also Alaska Nanooks) and was chosen as mascot for the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary.

Companies such as Coca-Cola, Polar Beverages, Nelvana, Bundaberg Rum or Good Humor-Breyers have used images of the polar bear in advertising,[151] HP Compaq 418867-001 Battery

while Fox's Glacier Mints have featured a polar bear named Peppy as the brand mascot since 1922.

Polar bears are also popular in fiction, particularly in books aimed at children or young adults. For example, The Polar Bear Son is adapted from a traditional Inuit tale.[152] Polar bears feature prominently in East (also released as North Child) by Edith Pattou,The Bear by Raymond Briggs, and Chris d'Lacey's The Fire Within series. HP Compaq 418871-001 Battery

The panserbjørne of Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials are sapient, dignified polar bears who exhibit anthropomorphic qualities, and feature prominently in the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR or Arctic Refuge) is a national wildlife refuge in northeasternAlaska, United States. HP Compaq 441675-001 Battery

It consists of 19,286,722 acres (78,050.59 km2) in the Alaska North Slope region.[1] It is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the country, slightly larger than the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is administered from offices in Fairbanks.

The move to protect this corner of Alaska began in the early 1950s. HP Compaq 443884-001 Battery

National Park Service planner George Collins and biologist Lowell Sumner recruited Wilderness Society President Olaus Murie and his wife Margaret Murie into an effort to permanently protect the area. They were joined by thousands of the era's prominent conservationists.The region first became a federal protected area in 1960 by order of Fred Andrew Seaton, Secretary of the Interiorunder U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. HP Compaq 443885-001 Battery

In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Eight million acres (32,000 km²) of the refuge, the Mollie Beattie Wilderness, are designated as wilderness area.[2]The expansion of the refuge in 1980 designated 1.5 million acres (6,100 km²) of the coastal plain as the 1002 areaand mandated studies of the natural resources of this area, especially petroleum. HP Compaq 393652-001 Battery

Congressional authorization is required before oil drilling may proceed in this area. The remaining 10.1 million acres (40,900 km²) of the refuge are designated as "minimal management," a category intended to maintain existing natural conditions and resource values. These areas are suitable for wilderness designation, although there are presently no proposals to designate them as wilderness. HP Compaq 395790-001 Battery

There are currently no roads within or leading into the refuge, however there are a few scattered Indian settlements within. On the northern edge of the refuge is the Inupiat village of Kaktovik (population 258)[3] and on the southern boundary the Gwich'in settlement of Arctic Village (population 152).[3] A popular wilderness route and historic passage exists between the two villages, HP Compaq 395790-003 Battery

traversing the refuge and all its ecosystems from boreal, interior forest to Arctic Ocean coast. Generally, visitors gain access to the land by aircraft, but it is also possible to reach the refuge by boat or by walking (the Dalton Highway passes near the western edge of the refuge). In theUnited States, the geographic location most remote from human trails, roads, or settlements is found here, at the headwaters of the Sheenjek River. HP Compaq 395790-132 Battery

The refuge supports a greater variety of plant and animal life than any other protected area in the Arctic Circle. A continuum of six different ecozones spans about 200 miles (300 km) north to south.

Along the northern coast of the refuge, the barrier islands, coastal lagoons, salt marshes, and river deltas of the Arctic coastal tundra provide habitat for migratory waterbirds including sea ducks, geese, swans, and shorebirds. HP Compaq 395790-163 Battery

Fish such as dolly varden and arctic cisco are found in nearshore waters. Coastal lands and sea ice are used by caribou seeking relief from biting insects during summer, and by polar bears hunting seals and giving birth in snow dens during winter.

The Arctic coastal plain stretches southward from the coast to the foothills of the Brooks Range. HP Compaq 395791-001 Battery

This area of rolling hills, small lakes, and north-flowing, braided rivers is dominated by tundra vegetation consisting of low shrubs, sedges, andmosses. Caribou travel to the coastal plain during June and July to give birth and raise their young. Migratory birds andinsects flourish here during the brief Arctic summer. Tens of thousands of snow geese stop here during September to feed before migrating south, and musk oxen live here year-round. HP Compaq 395791-002 Battery

South of the coastal plain, the mountains of the eastern Brooks Range rise to over 9000 feet (3,000 m). This northernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains marks the continental divide, with north-flowing rivers emptying into the Arctic Ocean and south-flowing rivers joining the great Yukon River. HP Compaq 395791-003 Battery

The rugged mountains of the Brooks Range are incised by deep river valleys creating a range of elevations and aspects that support a variety of low tundra vegetation, dense shrubs, rare groves of poplar trees on the north side and spruce on the south. During summer, peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, and golden eaglesbuild nests on cliffs. Harlequin ducks and red-breasted mergansers are seen on swift-flowing rivers. HP Compaq 395791-132 Battery

Dall sheep and wolvesare active all year, while grizzly bears and arctic ground squirrels are frequently seen during summer but hibernate in winter.

The southern portion of the Arctic Refuge is within the Interior Alaska-Yukon lowland taiga (boreal forest) ecoregion. Beginning as predominantly treeless tundra with scattered islands of black and white spruce trees, HP Compaq 395791-142 Battery

the forest becomes progressively denser as the foothills yield to the expansive flats north of the Yukon River. Frequent forest fires ignited by lightning result in a complex mosaic of birch, aspen, and spruce forests of various ages. Wetlands and south-flowing rivers create openings in the forest canopy. Neotropical migratory birds breed here in spring and summer, attracted by plentiful food and the variety of habitats. HP Compaq 395791-251 Battery

Caribou travel here from farther north to spend the winter. Year-round residents of the boreal forest include moose, lynx, marten, wolverines, black and grizzly bears, and wolves.Each year, thousands of waterfowl and other birds nest and reproduce in areas surrounding Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk fields and a healthy and increasing caribou herd migrates through these areas to calve and seek respite from annoying pests. HP Compaq 395791-261 Battery

The question of whether to drill for oil in the ANWR has been an ongoing political controversy in the United States since 1977.[4] The controversy surrounds drilling for oil in a 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) subsection on the coastal plain, known as the "1002 area".[5] HP Compaq 395791-661 Battery

Much of the debate over whether to drill in the 1002 area of ANWR rests on the amount of economically recoverable oil, as it relates to world oil markets, weighed against the potential harm oil exploration might have upon thenatural wildlife, in particular the calving ground of the Porcupine caribou. HP Compaq 395791-741 Battery,HP Compaq 395794-001 Battery,HP Compaq 395794-002 Battery

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