Polar bears beware

It was heart-wrenching enough watching a lone polar bear collapse from exhaustion after wading through a melting ice field on BBC’s Planet Earth series, but now the U.S. Geological Survey is predicting that many more soon will follow. The latest government studies predict that as many as two-thirds of the world’s estimated 25,000 polar bears will be gone by 2050 thanks to rapidly disappearing expanses of sea ice from which the bears hunt. Many polar bears have begun to starve as they fail to reach vital hunting habitat. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the bears to prey upon seals and store up the necessary calories to survive the long, harsh winter. The declining number of polar bears means they will likely earn protected status under the Endangered Species Act in January. Maybe look for one next time you’re at the zoo, though, just in case.