北極海冰減少 50年內2/3北極熊恐滅絕 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

北極海冰減少 50年內2/3北極熊恐滅絕

2007年09月14日
摘譯自2007年9月11日ENS美國,華府報導;蔡秦怡編譯;蔡麗伶審校

北極熊被融雪環繞著。根據美國地質調查所(U.S. Geological Survey)所發表一系列的研究發現,未來北極海冰的減少可能使北極熊的數量在50年內減少2/3。這項研究結果與背後隱含的事實將影響美國政府是否將北極熊列入瀕絕物種法的保護之下。

在經過為期6個月對於現存與新資料的精密分析,來自美國地質調查所、美、加政府機構、大學以及私人產業的科學家,證明北極海冰與北極熊的生存與健康有直接的關係。

海冰為北極熊獵食其主食-海豹的平台,但科學家已提出證明,北極海冰正因氣候變遷而逐漸減少。這項證明是經過20年對於北極海盆的觀察,發現其中北極熊棲地海冰的減少而得知。

研究預測,全球北極熊總群體數總計為19,而其中的2/3將在本世紀中面臨絕種的威脅,其餘3個群體則可能在75年內滅絕。

世界自然基金會北極計畫主持人漢米爾頓博士(Dr. Neil Hamilton)在挪威總部表示,「我們現在正式確認北極熊在我們這個時代正步入滅絕的危機。」 

Two-Thirds of Polar Bears Extinct in 50 Years as Sea Ice Shrinks
WASHINGTON, DC, September 11, 2007 (ENS)

Future reduction of sea ice in the Arctic could result in a loss of two-thirds of the world's polar bear population within 50 years, according to a series of studies released by the U.S. Geological Survey, USGS. This conclusion and the facts behind it will inform the U.S. government's upcoming decision whether or not to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

During a six-month period of intensive analysis of both existing and new data, scientists from the USGS, other American and Canadian government agencies, universities and the private sector documented the direct relationship between the presence of Arctic sea ice and the survival and health of polar bears.

Polar bears depend on sea ice as a platform to hunt seals, their primary food. But sea ice is decreasing throughout their Arctic range due to climate change, scientific studies have documented. Declines in polar bear habitat have been recorded throughout the Polar Basin over the past 20 years of observations.

The studies predict that almost two-thirds of the world's 19 polar bear populations will be extinct by mid-century and that three more populations of polar bears will probably be extinct within 75 years.
"We now have official confirmation that the largest living land predator is going to go extinct in our lifetime," said Dr. Neil Hamilton, director of the WWF Arctic Programme from his headquarters in Norway.

全文及圖片詳見 ENS