On Jan. 27, a polar bear who found its way onto the shores of Iceland was shot and killed, just because it was a bear on Iceland.
After a failed 2008 attempt to capture a live polar bear, an Icelandic task force decreed that the preferred method for dealing with polar bears on the country's shores was to kill them. The logic? Polar bears are dangerous, not at risk for extinction and it costs too much to save them.
But bears are becoming more threatened every day with global warming melting their homes and forcing them them search harder and longer to find enough food to survive. Now as bears go farther afield on melting sea ice to find food, some biologists predict more will wind up on Iceland -- and at risk to be killed.
Iceland's Environment Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir needs to get her facts straight: Polar bears are in danger and need Iceland's protection. Tell Svavarsdóttir that killing polar bears is not the answer.
I am writing today to urge you to revoke Iceland's policy that mandates killing polar bears on its shores.
[Your comments will be added here.]
Contrary to the premise for your policy, scientists predict that polar bears could go extinct within the century from the effects of climate change. As temperatures rise, sea ice melts, destroying their homes and making it more difficult for bears to hunt for food to survive. In their struggle to find food, the bears must travel farther afield to hunt, meaning more bears will likely make it to Iceland from Greenland.
In January, authorities killed another bear arguing that there were plenty of bears in Greenland, and that it was too expensive to capture the bear alive. But we know that bears' numbers are dwindling, and they will only be more threatened as climate change persists. Bears don't need more man-made threats on top of that.
Polar bears need all the protections they can get -- not more threats. Revise Iceland's polar bear-killing policy and protect bears on Iceland's shores.
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