Do more to protect polar bears

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 December, 2010, 12:00am

I'm writing in response to the article 'Polar bear refuge set up in Alaska' (Young Post, November 30).

The article says the Obama administration has designated more than 480,000 sq km as a protected area for polar bears, a threatened species.

Although this can reduce harm to the polar bear population, green groups said more steps should be taken to deal with climate change and the melting ice caps to save threatened species in the long run.

I love polar bears. They are cute with innocent eyes. From geography lessons, I learned that one of the effects of global warming may be the extinction of polar bears. The article says two-thirds of the world's polar bears could be gone in 40 years if current greenhouse gas trends continue. Humans are destroying their natural habitat, leaving them homeless.

As a well-developed country, I think the United States has the responsibility to solve environmental problems.

If we still want to see polar bears in the future, we should strike a balance between economic development and environmental protection.

Vivian Xu

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Vivian. Polar bears are the largest land predator, and have a deservedly fierce reputation. Adult males can weigh more than 700kg. Still, hand-raised bears like Knut in Germany have shown us they can be gentle and cute.

Although polar bears are not on the 'endangered' list, they are on the 'vulnerable' list. They are specially adapted to living on the freezing polar ice. And as the ice caps have melted due to global warming, the bears' home has become smaller. Bears were hunted for such a long time that it reduced their population. But now hunting restrictions have seen more bears surviving.

For years, the polar bear has been an important part of the spiritual life of the people who live in the same area.

Susan, Editor