Conservation and wildlife
(ENS, 14 September 2010) -- SAN FRANCISCO, California - From foxes to whales to walruses to plankton, Arctic species are being pushed toward extinction by rapid climate change, finds a new report by two conservation groups. In a report released Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity and Care for the Wild International document the situations of 17 Arctic animals trying to survive the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. "The polar bear is the best-known victim of rapid melting in the Arctic, but if we don't slash greenhouse pollution, many more creatures will follow it down the path to extinction," said Shaye Wolf, the Center's climate science director and lead author of the report, "Extinction: It's Not Just for Polar Bears." Most of the 17 imperiled species are mammals - the Arctic fox, polar bear, caribou or reindeer, muskox, and Pacific walrus, as well as four whales - gray, beluga, bowhead and narwhal. Four ice seals are also at risk — the ringed, bearded, harp and ribbon seals. The report names three seabirds in jeopardy — the Kittlitz's murrelet, spectacled eider and ivory gull; and also finds the sea butterfly, a species of plankton, to be at risk of extinction. The minimum extent of Arctic sea is is smaller than ever, satellite data shows. Arctic sea ice generally reaches its annual minimum extent in mid-September. On September 3, ice extent dropped below the seasonal minimum for 2009 to become the third lowest in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This August, ice extent for the month was the second lowest in the satellite record, after 2007.
Posted 22 September 2010; 4:20:54 PM. Permalink