6/14/2010 1:27:47 PM

Scientists Respond to Nunavut Decision

Leading polar bear scientists have issued a release challenging the Government of Nunavut's decision not to support the listing of the polar bear as Species of Special Concern under Canada's "Species at Risk Act."  In opposing the listing, Nunavut asserts that polar bears there are "thriving" and "will adapt to changing and severe climatic conditions."

The scientists—who comprise the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG)—said that Nunavut's position: 

  • Runs contrary to all available scientific evidence 
  • Will not lead to the best conservation of the species

Instead, the PBSG upholds that there is scientific evidence that "unabated global warming will ultimately threaten polar bears everywhere."

The scientists also said, "The loss of sea ice habitat (upon which polar bears depend for feeding, traveling, and mating) associated with climate warming poses a significant and ongoing threat to the conservation of the species." They added that there is no scientific evidence to support the suggestion that polar bears will adapt to the pace and scale of current and projected habitat loss.

The PBSG encouraged Nunauvt to re-examine its position. The group also urged the Canadian government to use the best available science in developing a responsible conservation strategy for Canadian polar bears.

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