Bad news, bears

Study says polar bear outlook is getting bleaker

Research into polar bears appears bleaker with a new report unveiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal officials say populations of the giant bears are dwindling due to continued melting sea ice. Another peril is poaching, reported The Associated Press.

Fish and Wildlife’s report indicates that the number of bears has dropped in certain regions of Alaska, Canada and Russia. The largest declines are among Chukchi and Bering Seas animals.

Researchers say poaching in Russia is thought to be the culprit behind the deaths of upwards of 200 bears yearly. Globally, about 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears exist in the wild. Polar bears were extended protections under the U.S. Endangered Species Act last year.