Photo Credit: AP/Dan JolingAuthor Zac Unger was originally drawn to the arctic circle to write a “mournful elegy” about how Global Warming was decimating the polar bear populations. He was surprised to find that the polar bears were not in such dire straits after all.
“There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago,” Unger told NPR in an interview about his new book, “Never Look a Polar Bear in The Eye.” “There are about 25,000 polar bears alive today worldwide. In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded.”
“This is not to say that global warming is not real or is not a problem for the polar bears,” Unger added. “But polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we can’t look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide, living in Canada, Greenland, the northern Russian coast, islands of the Norwegian coast, and the northwest Alaskan coast.
Polar bears became a focal point for environmentalists after former Vice President Al Gore featured them in his 2006 global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The bears were classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act to in May 2008 because their habitat was being threatened by global warming.
Read more from this story HERE.