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Polar bears desperate on thin ice: Watch chilling footage

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 6:31 am in Arctic Refuge, Polar bears.

Polar bear. Photo by Flickr user mape_s used under a Creative Commons License
mape_s polarbear1

In my Dec. 3 copy of the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity is a commentary on the plight of polar bears in the melting Arctic. Sad. You can see for yourself below. /Gary

Conditions for polar bears in the melting Arctic are worse than imagined.

Since sea ice hit a record low in 2007, scientists studying satellite images had hoped it was recovering. But two weeks ago, a survey revealed that ice shown by satellites to be relatively old and thick is actually thin and fragile — multiyear layers of ice once up to 33 feet thick now can’t even support a single bear, leaving the iconic animal with fewer and fewer places of refuge in the summer.

Polar bear. Photo by Flickr user longhorndave used under a Creative Commons License
longhorndave polarbear1

Polar bears need thick ice for breeding, traveling, denning, hunting, and feeding — without it, they can drown and starve.

And the shrinking sea ice is already having a grisly impact. Witnesses have spotted at least seven cases of polar bears, desperate for sustenance, eating their own cubs this year around Churchill, Manitoba. The Hudson Bay winter sea ice isn’t appearing till weeks later than it used to, and the polar bears can’t hunt the seals they depend on to fatten up for winter.

Get more from MSNBC:

And watch this disturbing footage by Daniel Katz of polar bears struggling to make their way across Hudson Bay’s thin, breaking ice:

More on Center for Biological Diversity and its programs:

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