Mother Polar Bear Swims Nine Days in Search of Ice

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Scientists recently documented a mother bear swimming non-stop for 232 hours in search of sea ice. She lost her cub. She lost 22 percent of her body fat. She nearly lost her life.

It was an epic feat of endurance: a mother polar bear, forced to swim for nine straight days in nearly freezing water … in desperate search of solid ice.

Miraculously, she survived. But her year-old cub didn’t. It is the kind of heartbreaking story that scientists fear we will see more and more often in years to come, as global warming melts the sea ice habitat that polar bears need to survive.

As if that weren’t enough, the Shell oil company wants to drill for oil off the coast of the Arctic Refuge — placing already-stressed polar bears at risk of a devastating oil spill.

A blowout at one of Shell’s rigs could be catastrophic — especially when pregnant polar bears move onshore to dig their dens and birth their cubs in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.

After last summer’s disaster in the Gulf, you’d think that our government would be demanding — and Shell would be forced to provide — the most realistic and far-reaching oil spill response plan in our nation’s history.

But Shell is still relying on an oil spill response plan that was written and approved BEFORE last summer’s catastrophic Gulf oil spill.

Shell has spent billions of dollars to get to this point. It has even launched a national ad campaign, aimed at persuading Americans that the company is well prepared to prevent and clean up spills in the Arctic.

Polar bears are already swimming for their lives. Let’s not wait for pictures of oil-covered bears before taking action to stop Shell.

Urge Interior Secretary Salazar to use the Endangered Species Act to protect the polar bear against the deadliest threat it faces — global warming pollution — as well as Arctic oil development.

Send your letter or e-mail today:

Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Phone: (202) 208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov
Web: Feedback form

sample letter:

Dear Secretary Salazar,

I’m dismayed that you have decided to adopt a Bush-era policy against using vital Endangered Species Act protections to save polar bears from global warming and Arctic oil development — short-circuiting President Obama’s pledge to follow a science-based approach to environmental protection.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that rising temperatures could cause two-thirds of the world’s polar bear populations, including all of Alaska’s polar bears, to go extinct by 2050. Polar bears are already drowning and starving. In the face of this unfolding disaster, it is too late for half-measures and polluter exemptions.

It’s not too late to withdraw this Bush-era plan. Please act now to close polluter loopholes and give the polar bear full-fledged endangered species protection to safeguard its habitat from global warming pollution, oil and gas development, and other threats.

The plight of the polar bear is urgent. We can still save this magnificent species, but the window for action is closing rapidly. Please act immediately to pull polar bears back from the brink of extinction.

Sincerely,

Your Name

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