Mass extinction coming soon, says IUCN, and polar bears cannibalism may serve as partial proof
One in four mammals risks extinction, says Reuters, citing an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report. "A quarter of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction, an international survey showed on Monday, and the destruction of habitats and hunting are the major causes." Among them is the polar bear...
Polar bear photo by Ellizabeth Labunski from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Polar bear survival depends on large and accessible seal populations and vast areas of ice from which to hunt.The most productive seal-hunting periods are during the spring and early summer (before the ice retreats) and following the open-water period in the fall. Because changes in sea ice are most dramatic during the summer/fall, this is the time when it can be hardest for bears to hunt seals. A reduction in sea ice can extend the time period during which bears do not have access to their primary prey. The effects of a longer ice free season can cause a decline in polar bear health, reproduction, survival, and population size. See FWS fact sheet.
In fact, CNN offers some dramatic -- frightening! -- photography of the real consequences of global warming, as well as a recent story on the dramatic decline of arctic ice leading polar bears to turn to cannibalism for survival.