Conservationists Take Legal Action to Save Polar Bears

Washington - Survival of the world's remaining polar bears is increasingly jeopardized by rapid disappearance of the arctic sea ice on which they depend for hunting, mating and migration, according to three leading conservation groups that announced they are taking legal action to have the bears listed as "threatened" under America's Endangered Species Act.

They point to extensive scientific evidence showing that the unprecedented polar meltdown is the result of global warming. The groups include the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace. Polar bears would be the first mammal to be officially declared at risk due to global warming.

Polar bears, the largest of all bears, live only in the Arctic and are completely reliant on the sea ice. They feed mainly on ringed seals, which live in the same habitat. But a growing body of evidence is proving that the ice is vanishing much faster than previously documented. A NASA and the University of Colorado report reveals that the Arctic ice cap has shrunk twenty percent since 1979, losing an area the size of Colorado in just the past year.

Global warming is caused by heat-trapping pollution such as carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks, power plants, and other sources that accumulates in the atmosphere and prevents the sun?s heat from escaping. The United States is the largest world contributor of those emissions.