1/22/2011 7:38:35 PM

Panel Meets on Polar Bear Recovery Plan in Alaska

Mother and cubsDr. Steven C. Amstrup, PBI's senior scientist, took part in a panel discussion in Anchorage, Alaska, to brainstorm a recovery plan for Alaska's polar bears. The session was organized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which is tasked with developing such a plan due to the polar bear's listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Suggestions included:

  • Ways to reduce human-bear conflicts as the bears are driven ashore
  • Better management of whale bone piles that attract polar bears
  • Possible reductions in hunting quotas
  • Guidelines for shielding denning polar bear mothers and cubs from industrial disturbances

But because the Service made it clear that it wanted ideas apart from addressing greenhouse gases, due to restrictions set by the Bush administration, panelists mostly avoided the elephant in the room: the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change

"Without addressing greenhouse gas emissions, there is very little you can do," said Amstrup, who was the lead author of the eight reports that led to the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.

Photo ©Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures.com

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