Polar Bears Are in Trouble--and Ice Melt's Not the Half of It
December 2012 BioScience Feature
On Greenland, the largest island in the world, life begins and ends at the ice edge.
This thin rim of ice--hikup hinaa in Greenlandic, an Inuit language--defines the line between life and death for humans and for many other species, including the polar bear.
The bear is known in East Greenland as Tornassuk, the master of helpful spirits. Now Tornassuk is the one that needs help. In a photo sent around the world, a polar bear is pictured alone on an ice floe. The stranded bear has become the icon of global warming. If sea ice continues to melt at its current rate, two-thirds of the world's 20,000-25,000 polar bears could disappear by 2050.
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